Flight 401-Phantom Traveler

What Happened?

I remember the crash of Flight 401 in the Florida Everglades well. The subsequent reports of a phantom traveler, namely a deceased pilot, were well known and wide spread. The Jumbo-Jet crash was the worst aviation disaster in the history of the State of Florida.

In 1972, the Eastern Air Lines L-1011 was headed for Miami International Airport in Miami, Florida. The flight, containing 163 passengers and 13 crew members departed from JFK Airport in New York. Commanding the flights were:

  • Captain Robert Loft, a veteran Eastern Air Lines pilot.
  • First Officer Albert Stockstill
  • Second Officer Donald Repo

At 11:32 P.M. the uneventful flight was approaching it’s destination and the crew prepared for landing when First Officer Stockstill saw that the landing gear indicator was not illuminating. Captain Loft and Second Officer Repo in their attempts to assist Stockstill became distracted and the plane crashed into the everglades. There was speculation about other factors being involved in this scenario and investigation revealed that the indicator light issue was caused by a burned out light bulb. The landing gear could have and should have been manually lowered without the light. The crash was caused by the crew’s error.

Eastern Airlines Flight 401-Actual Plane

Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

On this disastrous date, out of the 176 passengers on board, 101 died including Stockstill. Captain Loft died before being pulled from the wreckage and Repo died on the following day.

Siightings of the crew from Flight 401

Within several months, many Eastern Air Lines employees reporting seeing dead crew members Loft and Repo on board during the flights of L-1011’s and it was discovered that these particular planes had been fitted with salvaged parts from the crashed plane of Flight 401.

Management was so concerned about the spreading stories that employees were threatened with termination. The best selling author of The Ghosts of Flight 401, John G. Fuller completed an extensive investigation pertaining to the hauntings and was assisted by several of the airline’s personnel. As a result, the testimony produced was compelling.

Eventually the salvaged parts were removed from planes and stories stopped being reported by airline personnel. However,  the media maintained its extensive and continued coverage, books were published, and a movie was produced surrounding this paranormal mystery.

Here is a short video of what occurred:

Phantom Travelers

The ghosts of Flight 401 were frequently referred to as phantom travelers. Such phantoms are said to haunt specific locations, roads, vehicles, and rest areas associated with some type of traumatic event. The emotional connections are said to be strong and sightings occur repeatedly.

Sightings of phantom travelers dated back to the 1600’s in Russia and Europe and the phantoms have always been reported to appear solid and real.  They disappear just as suddenly as they appear. One of the apparitions from Flight 401 sat right next to a female passenger and appeared solid while another showed himself in the glass door of a microwave to a flight attendant.

Read survivor stories and view photos here.

Thanks for stopping by and please leave comments or questions below.

Haunted U.S. Roads



  1. Amanda Harbor Ashe

    Well, 44 years and counting and still no memorial. There must of been one person on the plane that the Federal Government liked? I am sure Lea Black in Miami would help raise funds to finish this project? She does like to raise money? Anyway, I will give some money in the future. These spirits around the crash site must be going CRAZY waiting for closure. No wonder Florida gets hit by so many Hurricanes? It is like waiting for body recovery for a funeral but the body never shows up?

  2. Tom

    Hi Donna- This is an interesting read. I have always had an interest in what is call the paranormal and I remember this incident well. However I was not aware of the preceding paranormal activity that followed.The idea of phantom travelers is kind of wild, and I remember another tale of a young girl who was killed in a traffic accident near a bridge somewhere in the south. People say they have seem her walking at night near that bridge and on one account of a driver stopping to offer her a ride. but when they stopped to pick her up she had disappeared. ..Strange stuff


    1. Donna

      Hi Tom,

      Yes, there are so many strange tales out there and I really enjoy telling some of them. My family always loved telling ghost stories so it’s been a family thing for many years. I am a true believer! Thank you for stopping by my website.

  3. Jeremy

    Hey Donna.
    Great article on the flight 401 phantom traveler.
    I used to live near the Everglades when I was a kid and even ten years later it was still a very active discussion. I’m not sure if people really seen him or not, but it’s difficult to discount that many sightings.
    Thanks for another interesting article and I will see you next time ~Jeremy

    1. Donna

      Thanks for the feedback Jeremy. Yes, it was a strange story and I tend to believe most of the reports that I read.


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