Stranded in the Sky: The Untold Story of Pan Am Luxury Airliners Trapped on the Day of Infamy
From the author of Taking Mr. Exxon and The Death of an Heir comes the untold story of four luxury airliners trapped in the Pacific Ocean on and after the Day of Infamy.
In the first week of December 1941, four Pan American Airways System (Pan Am) flying clippers—the largest and most lavish transpacific airliners in the world—took off from the North American West Coast, loaded with wealthy and affluent passengers on their way to exotic destinations.
On December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service executed a surprise coordinated attack against the US naval base at Pearl Harbor. Within hours, Midway Atoll, Wake Island, Guam, and Manila—all of which were refueling stops for these Pan Am flying clippers—were targeted and bombed by the same Japanese forces that had devastated Pearl Harbor.
Stranded within the vast boundaries of the Pacific Ocean, these civilian airlines were unexpectedly at risk of being captured or shot down by Japanese military. The assault on Pearl Harbor removed any possibility for US military assistance, and the attack of the refueling stations made it impossible for these airlines to refuel their depleting gas tanks. Alone and unreachable, Pan Am crews and their frightened passengers were left with no choice but to make their own way across the volatile Pacific Ocean, where neither land, air, nor sea could promise safety, and do their best to survive—if they could.