Mt. Success, N.H. – November 30, 1954

Mt. Success, New Hampshire – November 30, 1954

Updated June 20, 2018

DC-3 Airliner

DC-3 Airliner

     On November 30, 1954, Northeast Airlines Flight 792 departed from Boston’s Logan Airport bound for Berlin, New Hampshire, with stops at Concord and Laconia, New Hampshire.  The aircraft was a DC-3, (registration N17891).

    Just after 11:00 a.m. the flight contacted the air traffic controller at Berlin Airport and requested weather information.  The crew was advised that the weather was 3,000 feet overcast, with 2.5 mile visibility, and light snow showers.  

     As the plane was making a wide circle in preparation for landing it suddenly encountered turbulent weather and a severe downdraft, which caused it to loose 500 feet of altitude and crash into the summit of Mt. Success.  Although the plane suffered heavy damage, the fuselage remained largely intact.

     There were seven people aboard; three passengers and a crew of four.  Two of the crew, the co-pilot, George McCormick, 37, and flight superintendent John McNulty, 39, both of Boston, were unconscious and died of injuries about two hours later. The pilot, Peter Carey, 37, was seriously injured.  The three passengers, James W. Harvey, William Miller, and Daniel Hall, as well as the flight attendant, Mary McEttrick, 23, each suffered non-life-threatening injuries. 

     The aircraft’s left engine was discovered to be burning, and for the next two hours the passengers carried snow on food trays to douse the flames.     

     At 11:28 a.m. the air traffic controller in Berlin tried to contact Flight 792 and received no reply.   A search and rescue operation was initiated, but deteriorating weather conditions hampered efforts. 

     The crash site was at 3,440 feet, and it was initially concealed by low cloud cover that extended down to 2,500 feet, and therefore wasn’t spotted from the air until December 2nd.

     For 45 hours the survivors battled cold and hunger.  The pilot, although seriously injured, supervised survival measures.  It was snowing, and the temperature dropped below freezing.  Survivors wrapped themselves with anything available including cabin insulation, curtains, and soundproofing material to stay warm.  The passengers opened their suitcases and distributed extra clothing to the crew. 

     There was nothing to eat but a few crackers, cookies, and tea.  After collecting some wood, a small fire was built for warmth and to brew the tea.  Miss McEttrick was credited by the passengers for keeping everyone’s spirits up while waiting for rescue, and they gave her the nickname, “Merry Mack”.   

     After the wreckage was seen from the air on December 2nd, an Air Force helicopter was dispatched to the site from Grenier Air Force Base in Manchester, New Hampshire, and lowered a doctor to treat the survivors.  All were flown one at a time to Berlin Airport.

     The wreckage of Flight 792 was left were it fell, and today is visited and photographed by hikers.



     Civil Aeronautics Board Accident Investigation Report, file # 1-0226, adopted July 29, 1955, released August 3, 1955 

     Burlington Free Press, “Northeast Airplane Missing Over N.H.”, December 1, 1954, page 1.  

     Burlington Free Press, “Plucky Hostess On Crash Plane Wins Nickname of Merry Mack”, December 2, 1954

     Unknown newspaper, “Hall Is Last Of Survivors To leave Hospital After Checkup Of Injuries; He and Stewardess Highly Praised”, December 9, 1954

     Unknown Newspaper, “Survivors Of Crash Praise Merry Mac”, unknown date.

     Unknown newspaper, “Start Probe of Northeast Plane Crash”, unknown date

     Unknown newspaper, “Five Survive Crash Of Northeast Plane”, December 2, 1954


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