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Ghosts of flight 401

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posted on Jun, 30 2011 @ 01:55 AM
I am a fan of Aircrash Investigation and was watching the episode detailing the tragic crash of Eastern Airlines Flight 401 into the Florida Everglades in 1972. The programme took it's usual format of reconstruction and the subsequent investigation, until the final segment where it mentioned some rather bizarre phenomena that happened after the crash, where other aircraft in the Eastern Airlines fleet were seemingly haunted by the deceased pilot and flight engineer of Flight 401.

I was fascinated by this and started doing some googling and turned up some very interesting information. I immediately searched ATS as I was sure there must be a thread on here somewhere about it, but only found a couple of references in another thread about Ghosts Flying Planes Credit to Dock9 who provided a lot of other interesting information on that thread about deceased World War 2 pilots. However, the thread is from 2006 and I don't think it really got the attention it deserved, so I thought I would start a thread dedicated to the alleged ghosts of flight 401.

The crash was caused by a malfunctioning lightbulb, that distracted the crew prior to landing and although the autopilot had been activated, it seemed that the Captain had inadvertently de-activated the autopilot, and the crew had been unaware that the aircraft was losing altitude. As the plane crashed in the Everglades, it did not completely disintegrate and there were many parts that were salvaged and returned to Eastern Airlines for use on other aircraft. It was after these parts were used on other aircraft, that the strange haunting phenomena began. There are several sources for the information, but here is a reasonably detailed one below

Perhaps the most extraordinary and credible research into the ghost phenomenon ever documented is the so-called "Ghosts of Flight 401." On December of 1972, an Eastern Airlines Tri-Star jetliner, Flight 401, crashed into a Florida swamp. The pilot, Bob Loft (on the left), and flight engineer Don Repo (on the right), were two of the 101 people who perished in the air crash. Not long after the crash, the ghosts of Loft and Repo were seen on more than twenty occasions by crew members on other Eastern Tri-Stars, especially those planes which had been fitted with parts salvaged from the Flight 401 wreckage. The apparitions of Loft and Repo were invariably described as being extremely lifelike. They were not only reported by people who had known Loft and Repo, but their ghosts were also subsequently identified from photographs by people who had not known Loft and Repo.

The strange tales of the ghostly airmen of Flight of 401 circulated in the airline community. An account of the paranormal happenings even appeared in a 1974 US Flight Safety Foundation's newsletter. John G. Fuller, the best-selling author of The Ghost of Flight 401, carried out an exhaustive investigation into the hauntings with the aid of several cautious airline personnel. A mass of compelling testimony was produced as a result. The website Flight 401 – The Black Box Story provides an account of the crash as told using material from the Black Box. It highlights how poor cockpit resource management caused a tiny light bulb to distract the pilots and bring down a Tristar jetliner.

The cause of the crash was found to be a couple of minor design faults in the controls, and Lockheed rapidly corrected them. However, it was after some of the undamaged parts of the aircraft were subsequently recycled onto other planes that the mysterious incidents began to be reported.

Although Eastern Airlines refuses to discuss the matter, researchers have interviewed numerous individuals claiming to have encountered the ill-fated pair on L-1011s. As the reports would have it, Loft and Repo have devoted their after-lives to watching over the passengers and crew of these Lockheed passenger planes.

Many of the testimonies are extremely persuasive. Many come from people in highly responsible positions: pilots, flight officers, even a vice president of Eastern Airlines, who allegedly spoke with a captain he assumed was in charge of the flight, before recognizing him as the late Loft.

Other sightings are convincing because they have multiple witnesses. A flight's captain and two flight attendants claim to have seen and spoken to Loft before take-off and watched him vanish - an experience that left them so shaken they cancelled the flight.

One female passenger made a concerned enquiry to a flight attendant regarding the quiet, unresponsive man in Eastern Airlines uniform sitting in the seat next to her, who subsequently disappeared in full view of both of them and several other passengers, leaving the woman hysterical. When later shown a sheet of photos depicting Eastern flight engineers, she identified Repo as the officer she had seen.

Another incident occurred when one of the L-1011 passenger planes that had been fitted with salvaged parts was due for take-off. The flight engineer was mid-way through carrying out the routine pre-flight inspection when Repo appeared to him and said, "You don't need to worry about the pre-flight, I've already done it."

Repo and Loft are apparently not content merely to be present on these airplanes. Often their style is far more hands on, particularly in Repo's case. Aside from his appearance to a pre-flight engineer who he appeared to have been assisting, there is testimony from a flight attendant who observed a man in a flight engineer's uniform, whom she later recognized as Repo, fixing a galley oven. The insistence of the plane's own flight engineer that he had not fixed the oven, and that there had not been another engineer on board, would seem to lend weight to her claim. Repo was also seen in the compartment below the cockpit by a flight engineer who had accessed it in order to investigate a knocking he heard coming from there.

On another occasion, Faye Merryweather, a flight attendant, saw Repo's face looking out at her from an oven in the galley of Tri-Star 318. Understandably alarmed, she fetched two colleagues, one of whom was the flight engineer who had been a friend of Repo's and recognized him instantly. All three heard Repo warn them to, "Watch out for fire on this airplane." The plane later encountered serious engine trouble and the last leg of its flight was cancelled. It is interesting to note that the galley of Tri-Star 328 had been salvaged from the wreckage of flight 401.

The sightings were all reported to the Flight Safety Foundation (an independent authority) which commented: "The reports were given by experienced and trustworthy pilots and crew. We consider them significant. The appearance of the dead flight engineer (Repo) ... was confirmed by the flight engineer." Later, records of the Federal Aviation Agency recorded the fire which broke out on that same aircraft.

One of the vice-presidents of Eastern Airlines boarded a Miami-bound TriStar at JFK airport and spoke to a uniformed captain sitting in First Class. Suddenly, he recognized the captain was Loft, at which point the apparition vanished.

Another incident occurred when Repo appeared to a captain and told him, "There will never be another crash. We will not let it happen."

A female passenger found herself sitting next to an Eastern Airlines flight officer who looked pale and ill, but would not speak; she called a stewardess but before the eyes of several people, the man disappeared. The woman was later shown photographs of Eastern Airlines engineers and she identified the man as Repo.

Unfortunately, further research into the well-witnessed paranormal incidents was severely hampered by the airline company which steadfastly refused to co-operate with the ghost investigators.


I really do believe that all of those who witnessed these paranormal events were being totally truthful in their accounts with several of the witnesses being flight crew, who would be unlikely to be fooled or make things up, and it is such a shame that Eastern Airlines were so determined to cover up these events. Unfortunately that means that none of the witnesses were prepared to be named. However, it seems that Eastern Airlines then removed all of the salvaged parts from the haunted aircraft and the paranormal activity ceased.

Here is a link to the Aircrash Investigation reconstruction videos for Flight 401

Overall though this is a fascinating account and could have provided an opportunity to fully investigate paranormal activity, but unfortunately Eastern Airlines blocked all attempts to investigate the matter and instead warned employees not to discuss their experiences. But I think these events do provide proof of the existence of ghosts and moreso answers the question about how ghosts appear as it seemed that all of those who witnessed the events saw the deceased pilot and engineer as solid, normal people...until they vanished in front of their eyes!

Anyway, I realise that there is not much more that people can add to the discussion, but I just thought I'd create the thread for information, so hopefully you'll all enjoy the story as much as I did.

edit on 30-6-2011 by dbates because: changed quote tag to ex tag

posted on Jun, 30 2011 @ 06:41 AM
Thanks for bringing back to life this intriguing event. It is one that conventional wisdom will continue to ignore because it must do so or a whole understanding of reality is in jeopardy.

Skeptics will demand to know, given that these events did happen, why in this instance and not in thousnds of similar events. Then, they will use a none forthcoming answer as an excuse to dismiss it, and paradoxically, other similar events that did follow similar patterns. Concersely, a segment of folks will want to invoke God into the explanation in some fashion. Being the topic focuses around apparentlyspiritual beings, that seems an easy fit, but albeit too easy.

For myself, I don't need a God that is out there pulling the strings. In this instance I suggest a more direct route. I accept that we are more than biologic robots in that we have an "existence" that transends the physical. Given this capability, and the fact that the two pilots knew in the last seconds of their lives that they had made a terrible error that not only cost them their own lives but that of others onboard, their "souls" were trying to make amends and were somehow enbedded with, locked into, a relationship with the parts of their plane. The parts being a conduit, a way back, from the etheral to some parts of the physical world. Basically, they were true ghosts in the very typical meaning of the word as used by Fuller in the title of his book.

John G. fuller wrote a followup book on the subject entitled "The Airmen Who Would Not Die.

posted on Jun, 30 2011 @ 06:42 AM
Thanks for the flags and stars...I'm glad that other people are finding this story interesting, and although I said that there's probably not much more can be added, please feel free to comment on/discuss the case, or even advance any "debunk" theories you may have.

posted on Jun, 30 2011 @ 06:50 AM
reply to post by Aliensun

I think you are absolutely correct in your assumption that the pilots would probably have been aware of their errors in the immediate aftermath of the crash (neither man died instantly), and like you say were attempting to make amends as it were. I too, do not subscribe to any religion but do believe there are far many more things out there that we do not understand, but that do exist.

And yes, there will always be the "pics or it didn't happen" brigade, who even if you provided them with real time video evidence would still jump in shouting "fake"

But I'm definitley going to buy that book I'm sure it will be a very interesting read.

posted on Jun, 30 2011 @ 06:51 AM
What an interesting story. Fascinatino say the least. Think I would freout if I saw someone that I thought was real, disappear!

Will investigate a bit more.

posted on Jun, 30 2011 @ 07:09 AM

Faye Merryweather, a flight attendant, saw Repo's face looking out at her from an oven in the galley of Tri-Star 318. Understandably alarmed, she fetched two colleagues, one of whom was the flight engineer who had been a friend of Repo's and recognized him instantly. All three heard Repo warn them to, "Watch out for fire on this airplane." The plane later encountered serious engine trouble and the last leg of its flight was cancelled. It is interesting to note that the galley of Tri-Star 328 had been salvaged from the wreckage of flight 401.

I was told that story, and a couple of other cases where Don Repo had been seen onboard other Eastern tristars warning about trouble by the first officer of that flight.

Must have been in 1982 or 83.

Several other flight crews and passengers had obviously seen Repo and Loft onboard Easten L1011's on several occasions.

posted on Jun, 30 2011 @ 07:17 AM
reply to post by Ivar_Karlsen

It's amazing how many sane, educated, well balanced people reported these incidents, yet even though I have a strong interest in the paranormal, I had never heard of the case until I watched that episode of Air Crash Investigation. I think though as Aliensun alluded to in their post, that this case goes largely ignored as it has so many credible witness accounts, which cannot be easily dismissed and as such challenges our perceptions of reality and not many people really want to investigate these possibilities.

posted on Jun, 30 2011 @ 12:51 PM
reply to post by destination now

Hi DN!

Fascinating story you've shared with us here!

You mention that you're a fan of air crash investigation? Is/was the salvaging and re-use of parts from crashed planes routinely done? It seems a bit risky to me, as you can't always see internal/structural damage on parts from a crash. (I believe that's why they say that you shouldn't buy a childs car seat 2nd hand... because it might have been in a crash and been weakened, without any external signs)

If it was done routinely, I'm wondering... are there any other examples of deceased crew members "following" their parts onto other planes? Now that would be interesting!


posted on Jun, 30 2011 @ 01:40 PM
reply to post by Gordi The Drummer

Glad you enjoyed the OP. The aircraft was almost new and it seems that some parts were completely undamaged, for example the galley, which of course is a non-critical piece of equipment, but there wasn't too much information about what parts were re-used. But I'm not sure if this is done routinely, however, the nature of most aviation accidents leave little, if any parts of the plane that could be re-used, but you've posed an interesting question about whether this sort of thing has happened since or could happen again.

posted on Jun, 30 2011 @ 01:59 PM
reply to post by destination now

Yeah! and it's got me thinking about cruise ships.... do they re-use the parts from stricken cruise liners???
(with thousands of possible deceased crew/passengers hitch hiking along!!)


hmmmmm! This needs looking at!!

posted on Jun, 30 2011 @ 02:05 PM
Wow, what a weird coincidence! I literally *just* finished reading John C Fuller's The Ghost of Flight 401 (1976) two days ago and I've been writing about it in my journal all week. It's literally been all I've been able to talk about - easily the most fascinating and credible tale of the paranormal I've yet come across. My mom had a copy soon after it was published, and being an easily spooked but precociously literate 6-year old, the title spooked me out as much as the story fascinated me. I never forgot it, and even when the book was long gone I'd research the tale every few years. In fact I'd run an ATS search just a few days ago, after I came across a copy at a used book sale I happened upon last week. I feel like I was drawn to it. I'm so psyched to see this - pardon my excitement. Star and flag, and I highly recommend reading the book. It's more than a ghost story - it's drama, philosophy, religion, esoterica.... Pretty life-changing too, for me at least.

posted on Jun, 30 2011 @ 02:06 PM
The "Airmen who would not die" is not a "follow-up" book on the Ghost of 401. It's subject matter is on an entirely different incident.

One of the things Repo is suppoosed to have said in one of hios apparition incidents is that "There will never be another crash of an L1011."

But there was. Delta Flight 191 crashed in texas in 1985 killing over 100 people, including the inventor of the IBM PC.

So, even if you are dead doesn't mean you have suddenly got a window on truth or predictions.

Fuller met his wife, Elizabeth, during his investigation. She also wrote a book called "My search for the ghost of flight 401."

posted on Jun, 30 2011 @ 02:16 PM
reply to post by daisyglaze

Wow! What a soon as I came across the story the other day, I was just so intrigued by it, and as soon as I realised there was no thread on the subject here, I felt totally compelled to create one. Glad you enjoyed the OP and I really have to get a copy of the book Ghosts of Flight 401, I had a look on Amazon and I see I can get a copy from there, so really looking forward to reading it.

posted on Jun, 30 2011 @ 02:19 PM

Originally posted by schuyler

One of the things Repo is suppoosed to have said in one of hios apparition incidents is that "There will never be another crash of an L1011."

Maybe it wasn't a prediction, so much as a promise he thought he could fulfill? According to the stories there were a few events that may have led to the cessation of the alleged hauntings -

- a "soul rescue" by mediums in New York (one an Eastern employee if I recall correctly)

- an exorcism another Eastern employee claimed to have performed

- Eastern allegedly removed all the parts from planes that had been refitted from salvaged pieces of the old L-1011 (which were suspected to be related to the appearances)

The appearances are reported to have ceased completely after these occurrences, though which specifically, no one seems to know.

The way I see it, if any of it was real, Repo would've viewed himself as permanently connected to the craft and able to help from that point on without interruption. Just a theory though.

posted on Jun, 30 2011 @ 02:21 PM
reply to post by schuyler

Yes, I read a forum discussion about that statement "No other plane will crash" and it seems that it was taken in two ways, firstly that no other plane would crash, which was obviously wrong and the other take that no other plane will crash due to mistakes by the flight crew, which the second crash was not, it was (I think) an engine failure.

The other thread that I referenced in my OP talks about the other book, The airmen that would not die and I believe it is referencing world war 2 pilots in particular, which would obviously still be an interesting read, but thanks for clarifying that it's not a follow up to ghosts of flight 401

posted on Jun, 30 2011 @ 02:44 PM
Thanks for bringing this story back,i haven't heard of this before.I find the whole hanging around the place where you died thing very interesting,these guys must have unfinished business on the planes thats why they are hanging around still.
It must have been really scary talking to somebody then being told they have been dead for years.


posted on Jun, 30 2011 @ 02:51 PM
reply to post by rhynouk

Thanks! Yes, I find it fascinating that all of the witnesses thought they were talking to normal, alive people, only to see them vanish and then be able to positively ID them as the deceased pilots and also for those crew who actually knew the deceased pilots, it must have been a real shock seeing them on their plane....No wonder one flight was cancelled due to the shock of the crew after witnessing such an event!

posted on Jun, 30 2011 @ 03:32 PM

Originally posted by destination nowYes, I read a forum discussion about that statement "No other plane will crash" and it seems that it was taken in two ways, firstly that no other plane would crash, which was obviously wrong and the other take that no other plane will crash due to mistakes by the flight crew, which the second crash was not, it was (I think) an engine failure.

I guess what Repo might have said was that no other L1011 will be lost in a crash like this.

Delta Air Lines flight 191 got caught in a Microburst.

posted on Jun, 30 2011 @ 03:41 PM
reply to post by Ivar_Karlsen

Yes, that's what I took from it, the deceased pilots intended that no other aircraft in the fleet would crash in avoidable circumstances, though I could be wrong.

posted on Jun, 30 2011 @ 03:47 PM
I love a good ghost story. Thanks for posting this. I've never heard of this particular story and it's nice to read that there were so many independent witnesses. Maybe it would have been better had they kept the salvaged parts inside the newer planes so that the spirit pilots could continue to watch over these flights. Of course the skeptic in me takes the story with a grain of salt. Sometimes it's fun to believe, but one must remain cautious, especially if the witnesses were not identified by name.

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