google-site-verification: googlee20fcd946adc59a7.html Out of the Past: January 2013

Thursday, January 31, 2013

1948: Disappearance of the Star Tiger

On the day in 1948 that airplane inventor Orville Wright passed away and Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated, "one of the greatest peacetime air-sea searches ever conducted was being carried out in the Atlantic northeast of Bermuda," reports John Wallance Spencer in Limbo of the Lost: Actual Stories of Sea Mysteries.

"A desperate attempt was underway to find 25 passengers and 6 crewmen reported missing along with their British South American Airways, 4-engine, Avro, Tudor IV, luxury airliner, Star Tiger.

"The 32-passenger plane, on a flight from London to Havana, was on its third stage from Santa Maria in the Azores to Hamilton, Bermuda, a distance of 1,960 miles."

At 03:04 Radio Officer Robert Tuck aboard the Star Tiger requested a radio bearing from the Bermuda airport, but the signal was not strong enough to obtain an accurate reading. Tuck  repeated the request eleven minutes later, and this time the Bermuda radio operator was able to obtain a bearing of 72 degrees, accurate to within 2 degrees. The Bermuda  operator transmitted this information, and Tuck acknowledged receipt at 03:17.

That was the last communication with the aircraft. The Bermuda operator tried to contact Star Tiger at 03:50 and receiving no reply, thought that it had gone over to direct radio contact with Bermuda Approach Control. However, Approach Control reported that this was not the case. The Bermuda radio operator tried at 04:05 to contact Star Tiger, again without success, and after trying again at 04:40 he declared a state of emergency.

Continued in ... 1948

Limbo of the Lost: Actual Stories of Sea Mysteries by John Wallace Spencer
Outrider Books
Artwork: British South American Airways