On April 2, 1956, an airliner ditches into Puget Sound off Vashon Island, killing five people. The Northwest Orient Airlines Stratocruiser had departed Seattle-Tacoma International Airport en route to New York.
The plane carried 32 passengers and six crew members. Upon departure southbound, the pilot experienced severe buffeting and reduced power. Unable to reach McChord Air Force Base, the plane landed in the water where the tail broke off. The aircraft sank after 15 minutes. An Air Force rescue plane on a training mission responded and saved 11 people. Two boys in a rowboat from nearby Maury Island also rescued survivors.
Those killed were:
- Paul Wherman, Seattle
- Dr. George B. Hook, Tacoma
- Mrs. Yee Tsui Kong Lin, 37, formerly of Hong Kong
- Yee Sauy Foon, 6, her son
- David V. Razey, flight service attendant, Seattle
The four-engine Stratocruiser was manufactured by Boeing using the flight surfaces (wings and empennage) of the B-29 Superfortress bomber. The cause of the accident was traced to an improper setting of the cowl flaps by the flight engineer.