Airliner crash into Puget Sound kills five on April 2, 1956.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 2/20/2002
  • Essay 3698

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.


Aviation Safety Network website accessed February 19, 2002 ( /560402-0.htm); "Cause of Airliner Wreck Sought," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, April 3, 1956, pp. 1, 4.

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
Major Support for Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You