Ghost Flight 401

Ghost Flight 401

On December the 29th, 1972, the doomed Eastern Air Lines Flight 401, left New York’s JFK airport and headed out on it’s journey to Miami International Airport.

It never reached it’s destination.

In this article we will be taking a look at the reports surrounding the ghost flight 401…


The Crash

The Lockheed L-1011 (Eastern Air Lines Flight 401) carried 163 passengers and 13 crew members on it’s journey towards Miami Airport.

Veteran pilot Captain Robert Loft was in charge of the flight with First Officer Albert Stockstill and Second Officer (flight engineer) Donald Repo below him.

The flight left New York at precisely 9.20pm but trouble hit the flight at 11.32pm.

At this time the flight was near its destination in Florida and the crew were in preparation for landing…but First Officer Stockstill noticed a problem with the plane.

Something was wrong with the landing gear indicator on the plane’s dashboard – it was not lit up and this was causing concern among the pilots.

All three of them ended up being completely distracted by the landing gear issue and the plane tragically crashed due to their lack of concentration.


The Death Toll

First Officer Stockstill died as soon as the aircraft crashed into the swampy Florida Everglades. The other two pilots managed to survive the impact, but eventually died after they had been rescued from the wreckage.

flight 401 crash

There were a total of 176 people on board the Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 – 101 of these souls perished in the crash.


The Ghost Flight 401

Within a few months of the tragedy, reports from employees of Eastern Airlines began surfacing regarding the ghosts of crew members Loft and Repo.

These reports came from another L-1011 in service – apparently this aircraft had been fitted with some of the surviving parts of Flight 401.

The ghostly sightings of the two dead pilots began to gather pace until Eastern’s management threatened dismissal to those caught spreading the paranormal claims.

But they were too late – the media and the public had caught onto these mysterious reports and the story had spread worldwide.

The Ghost Flight 401 pilots

Eventually numerous books were published on the subject and in 1978, a made-for-TV movie was aired named The Ghost of Flight 401.

The CEO of Eastern Airlines, Frank Borman, claimed the stories were nothing more than stupid ‘garbage’ and sued the company behind the film for libel.


The Haunting Ends

To this day, former Eastern Airlines employees still insist they had encounters with Loft and Repo on board the other L-1011.

The newly fitted parts were eventually taken back off the plane and this apparently ended the paranormal activity.

The final report on the crash came to the conclusion that it happened due to human error (the crew) – the landing gear light had indeed burned out but the landing gear could easily have been lowered manually.

Many believe this is the reason Loft and Repo returned to haunt the remaining L-1011 – they felt guilt and they wanted to make sure this remaining aircraft stayed safe.

If you have any thoughts or opinions on the subject we have covered here today, please leave them in the comment section below.

4 comments on “Ghost Flight 401

  1. I know two guys who used to fly smaller aircraft. They are some of the most stable, intelligent and credible people I know, who do not easily make mistakes in their observations. If they tell me in all seriousness that they saw something, I believe them. Even if it’s UFOs (they both have) or “ghosts” (neither of them yet).

    Shakespeare was right: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” We should always keep our minds open.

  2. Thanks Chris! One of my favourite quotes which applies to a lot of this kind of thing is from Sherlock Holmes (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle):

    “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

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