The Seattle is Missing!
The World Cruiser "Seattle" flown by Major Frederick L. Martin with mechanic Staff Sergeant Alva L. Harvey, is missing. Maj. Martin, commander of the World Flight was last seen near Portage Bay apparently having some kind of mechanical problems with his airplane.
When the remaining three planes arrived in Chignik, Alaska, radio distress messages were flashed to all ships in the area to begin a search in the general vicinity of the Portage Bay area.
Ships known to be steaming to the rescue include the mail steamer Starr and US Navy Destroyers Hull and Corey. The condition of the "Seattle" and its crew is unknown at this time.
by Lt. L.H. Smith Chicago Pilot
Snow storms delayed the flight until this morning. One of the planes had some difficulty in getting off the water but at 10:05 all were in the air together and headed for Chignik. Lieut. Nelson had been designated leader for the day and took a course south from Seward to a point near Pilot Rock, where he took a direct compass course to Chignik, flying over the tip of some of the narrow peninsulas near the Seward end of the flight. On several occasions, the "Seattle" dropped far to the rear and upon one of these occasions, although it was being closely watched by the remaining personnel, it was seen to swing over towards Portage Bay. At this time, the other planes were flying directly into very strong head winds and did not have enough fuel to return and still reach Chignik. They were still uncertain as to whether the "Seattle" was really in difficulty of following in the rear. The remaining three planes landed at Chignik in a poorly protected harbor at 4:25 p.m.
A radio station had been established here by Lieutenant Clayton L. Bissell, the advance officer of the 1st Division, and was immediately pressed into service; first, by requesting the United States Destroyers Hull and Corey, which were known to be near Seward, to proceed at once to Portage Bay and Kialagvik Bay, advising them of the location where the "Seattle" was last seen and requesting that they start search immediately. A prompt reply was received that they were proceeding at full speed and would reach the points designated shortly after daylight the next morning. Broadcasts were also sent out requesting any vessel in the vicinity to assist in the search. The Alaskan mail steamer Starr responded and headed for the point, furnishing a great deal of assistance by relaying radio messages to all points in the vicinity so that nothing was left undone to expedite locating the lost plane.
by Lt. L.P. Arnold, Chicago Mechanic
Up at 5, weather bright and clear, and all preparations made to leave. At 9 weather reports came in from along the route and 9:48 we gave it the gun. #1 "Seattle" had trouble getting off so the other three planes flew around & around themselves by flying close, taking pictures of one another, etc.
At 10:05 all were up and headed off on course. #2, 3, & 4 rose to 1500 feet & took short cut over mountains while #1 stayed low & went around point. All got together about 10:45 and with exception of #1 stayed fairly close, #1 was first on one side & then on the other, and about 2:35 near Cape Igvak he couldn't be found. Not knowing just where he went, a heavy wind to buck, the rest of the flight couldn't turn back to search so sped up to reach Chignik as soon as possible in order to radio the news.
This was the first good day since the flight left Eugene, it was clear & bright most of the way & to see mountains sixty & seventy miles away was a common sight. At times snow squalls were sighted to the right or left of us & not until fifteen miles from Chignik was it necessary to go through one & it wasn't a bad one.
Snow capped mountains have been visible for so long that we no longer gaze at them so intently. At the entrance of Shelokof Straits off on our right we could see a lot of splashing going on & while not positive think it was a couple of whales. These straights by the way are reputed to be the worst body of water in the world in the Pacific & Cooks Inlet. It is full of uncharted rocks & is always rough, but today was comparatively calm.
Just before reaching the Barren Islands, which by the way are well named, we again passed the steamer Starr [note: the Starr was a mail/trading/supply ship, ed.] which saluted as usual. Her skipper Capt. Johanensson is well known for skill and daring.
About 4:00 we rounded the turn & came to Chignik, two canneries comprise the town & with the exception of a small native village the population are only here in summer, coming up from the states.
High mountains surround the bay which was calm & looked ideal for our purpose. All had landed at 4:25 & after making fast Smith went ashore to send his radio messages while the rest of us made fast for the night.