Rescuers (at the time) speculated that an explosion occurred aboard the plane, a Boeing 727. Three and a half hours after the crash three bodies had been found in the ocean along with parts of fuselage and a United States mail bag carrying letters with that day's postmark. Hope was dim for survivors because United's domestic flights do notcarry liferafts or lifejackets. A Coast Guard spokesman said it looked "very doubtful that there could be anybody alive."
Two minutes into its flight, the pilots reported a fire warning in the No. 1 engine and shut it down. The aircraft had departed LAX with one of its three generators inoperable, and shutting down the suspect engine took a second generator offline. The remaining generator became overloaded and shut down, resulting in the loss of all electrical power.
The pilots began flying in total darkness with less than 3 miles visibility due to fog and rain, with no lights or instruments, and consequently lost complete control of the aircraft due to disorientation and crashed... Read More