Missing Amy Johnson, terrified of drowning – Archive, 1941


7 January 1941: The British aviatrix plane was seen crashing into the estuary of the Thames

The popular aviatrix, Miss Amy Johnson, is missing and believed to have drowned.

When it is thought she may have gone off course over the Thames Estuary, Miss Johnson was piloting an aircraft. It was seen as the plane fell into the water, and she got out.

There was a speedboat heading out to look for her, but she couldn’t be identified.

No hope of survival” “Amy Johnson did not survive when her plane crashed on Sunday afternoon over the Thames Estuary (writes Drew Middleton, Associated Press war correspondent in London in an exclusive eyewitness account).

I saw her plane glide into the water gracefully, crash on a wave, and fall before help could reach her.

To try to save a person on the plane, a sailor from a balloon ship plunged into the icy water. He is now hovering between life and death and can not tell if Amy Johnson or another plane passenger is the survivor, whom he held by the collar for a few moments until the waves separated them.

There is simply no possibility that the former wife of Jim Mollison is still alive. For more than half an hour, no one could live in that bath. When he was pulled onto the rescue boat, the sailor who attempted the rescue was half dead.

As the ship on which I was a passenger was entering the mouth of the Thames, the incident took place late in the afternoon.

The lookout unexpectedly shouted, “Plane off the harbor.” At about 750 feet, an airplane was flying.

I didn’t hear the sound of an engine.

It immediately turned off and began a long downward glide, coming at right angles to the direction of the ship.

It was about two miles away.

There was something white fluttering out and falling into the sea.

Maybe it was a parachute.

If that were the case, it was a desperate jump, since the aircraft was less than 200 feet above water.

I figured I saw somebody clinging to the fuselage as we approached the spot. The watchman said, ‘No, that’s just part of the plane.’ There were two boats casting off.

A figure leapt from one of them into the water as they approached the wreck. He clung to another nearby figure and gestured towards the lifeboat, but they were pushed past the two struggling figures by the heavy swell.

The lifeboats retreated toward the two figures, but unexpectedly only one man was left in the water, and the icy waves knocked him down violently and sunk rapidly.

A ship came closer, and two men stepped in to save him.

All three struggled for a moment in the water. They eventually took the sailor onto the lifeboat, and they called a doctor.
After the rescue attempt, a vessel circled the site for about half an hour but saw no trace of a body.

The Air Transport Auxiliary, of which Amy Johnson was a member for several months, is responsible for transporting aircraft from factories to RAF airfields. With this organisation, there are several women pilots.

It is confirmed that Amy Johnson was recently busy flying from airfield to airfield picking up other women ATA pilots who had landed after delivering their aircraft. Jim Mollison, her former husband, was recently appointed one of the male pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary.

Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Johnson, Amy Johnson’s parents, live in the town of Bridlington.

Another daughter, Mrs. Molly Jones, is the wife of the town clerk of Blackpool, Mr. Trevor Jones.

The third prominent aviatrix to be lost at sea is Amy Johnson. Amelia Earhart, who died in the Pacific, and the Duchess of Bedford, who was lost on a short flight from East Anglia in the North Sea, were the others.


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