Three Harvard students and the Chief of Surgery in the University Health Services were passengers on the American Airlines jet that fell into Winthrop Bay after overshooting the runway at Logan Airport yesterday.
All 71 people aboard escaped alive, although two passengers and a stewardesses were taken to hospitals with minor injuries. But the crash caused the death of one man, Jack Luti of Beachmont, who suffered a heart attack while engaged in rescue operations.
The big Boeing 707 Astrojet came down in heavy fog yesterday afternoon, overshot the runway and skidded into shallow water. Calm action by the plane's crew and the rapid appearances of rescue boats enabled everyone aboard to reach safety.
"I've flown a t least a half a million miles, but nothing like this ever happened to me before," Augusts Thorndike, Chief of Surgery in the U.H.S. said San Francisco, where he attended a meeting on the Veterans Administration's artificial limb program.
Thorndike said that rescue operations were "well-handled--there was no panic or excitement, and the passengers were well-behaved." Also, he said, "The Orient Heights Yacht Club did a wonderful job."
The water level was below the wing of the plane he said, and "I didn't even get my feet wet." Thorndike is in charge of all surgery for Harvard students, faculty, and staff, and also serves as physician for the College's athletic teams.
Gerald D. French '64, Perrin L. French '64, and Howard F. Elkus of the Design School were the Harvard students on the plane.