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Posted on November 4th, 2022 by Clyde Lewis

On December 29, 1972, Flight 401 was en route to Miami International Airport but due to a malfunctioning landing gear light and other distractions, plowed into the swampland, making the incident the second deadliest single aircraft disaster in United States history. Not long after the accident, weird stories began to circulate amongst the airline community of ghostly encounters with the dead crew of Flight 401. Curiously,  the undamaged parts from the crashed plane were recycled into other Eastern L-1011 Tristar jets that seemed to produce the largest concentrations of hauntings and sightings of the dead crewmen. Tonight on Ground Zero, Clyde Lewis talks with paranormal investigators, Steve Shippy and Cindy Kaza about FLIGHT 401 - JUST PLANE DEAD.





The week has flown by and we are now leaving behind all of the Halloween stories and diving into the parapolitical before the election.

But there is one paranormal story that I waited to talk about and never got around to it undefined so I thought that now is as good a time as any to at least thrill you before your cold weekend comes and you have to turn your clocks back.

November of course is the month of Thanksgiving -and will be one of the most traveled times of the year. People are already booking their hotels and flights as they wish to fly over the river and through the woods to grandmaundefineds house or perhaps even an old friendundefineds house for turkey and all the trimmings.

Planes of course we are told are the safest ways to travel undefined the only problem is if there is a crash you are more than likely will not survive it.  I donundefinedt know about you but every once and a while when I am on a plane I get these intrusive thoughts of it falling out the sky after take-off undefined or having the plane collided with a mountain or another plane.

This happened over my house in Kearns, Utah in 1987.  It was a snowy day in January when SkyWest Airlines Flight 1834 collided in midair with a Mooney M20. the M20 pilots wandered into restricted airspace and my house was about a mile and a half away from Salt Lake Airport Number 2 or South Valley Regional.

The SkyWest Airlines aircraft, which was 30 minutes late, was on final approach to Runway 34 of Salt Lake City International Airport. The Mooney M20 took off from South Valley Regional Airport, piloted by a flight instructor and his student.

The air traffic controller watching the area failed to recognize the danger when the Mooney pilots wandered into restricted airspace. The controller did not notice the small plane on the radar and directed the SkyWest pilots to turn. Making that turn, the SkyWest plane collided with the Mooney.

There was a undefinedbig boom,undefined and then, undefinedparts were flying everywhere- I was about another mile away working at the elementary school near my home. The catholic school that was down the street from where I was undefined had to close because bodies littered the playground. There was also a torso that had fallen just three houses down from where I lived. Some bodies were hanging from the trees and what was brutal is that people were standing next to the bodies snapping pictures.

Authorities had to open a temporary morgue at a nearby catholic church as they recovered the victims.

There was an uproar from the community when it was learned that people were recovering severed heads and posing for pictures with them.

I guess that is a macabre story to share.. but with Halloween still lingering the story reminds me of that song DOA by blood rock where a pilot collides with something in the sky and describes what it is like to bleed to death.

But that wasnundefinedt all.

When I was prepping for my Halloween shows undefined I stumbled upon a story that I thought would be a paranormal scoop. Apparently, there was a story that ran a few months ago that talked about ghost flights. I bookmarked the story for the headline alone and filed it for a possible Halloween topic. Well two weeks ago I went back to my bookmarks to see if I filed any interesting paranormal stuff and I remembered the headline: Why the sky is still full of empty undefinedghostundefined flights,undefined

Now of course, I thought that maybe there was an upswing of phantom planes that were being sighted undefined because of course aviation news lately has been talking about UFO sightings and I was pretty excited.

Well, to be honest, the story was not about paranormal ghost flights and I was disappointed. But I read the story anyway because it still seemed a bit weird.

So did you know that In the early days of the pandemic, when demand for air travel abruptly flatlined undefined planes would fly anyway- most of them were empty.  No one on board. They were called ghost flights.

These were empty or near-empty planes traversing the skyline as airline schedules kept to their contractual obligations to fly.  In some cases, these flights are still happening even though travel has picked up.

Travel is still down and if you remember we did a show about how the Biden administration was discouraging air travel because it put a strain on the climate.

A  report by the Guardian, based on a freedom of information request, found that at the end of last year there were around 500 undefinedghost flightsundefined undefined empty planes just flying and burning fuel.

And in January 2022, an analysis from Greenpeace claimed that more than 100,000 undefinedghost flightsundefined were in the skies.

They claimed that it was the undefinedequivalent to the yearly emissions of more than 1.4 million cars.undefined

The Greenpeace figures were extrapolated from a December interview with Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr in which he warned that Lufthansa Group was facing the prospect of 18,000 unnecessary flights over the six-month winter season to retain its slots under European rules.

On the basis that Lufthansaundefineds air traffic accounts for 17% of the European market, Greenpeace reckons the total number of Europeundefineds ghost flights would generate 2.1 million tons of CO2.

If you are one of the green people who are outraged undefined it should be noted that if planes were to just stop flying they would lose their synchronization -and when the time came for flights to begin many important routes would be late.

This is why a number of airlines were running late as soon as the Pandemic ended. These flights lost out on their slots for synchronization -and so this is how delicate the timing of flights can be.

It is a huge effort to keep the planes running on time.

Recently, air travel has been making headlines again but it is not about unruly passengers or strange grunts and moans on the plane. There has been a UFO flap undefined that we first reported on October 24th that a top U.S. spy chief said pilots nationwide were reporting numerous UFO sightings that could be of alien origin. Avril Haines, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) admitted that strange encounters with unidentified flying objects need to be highlighted for more investigation and thus, gain a better understanding of these unidentified aerial phenomena.

Pilots from Southwest Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, and several others spotted multiple aircraft in the night sky, leaving them scratching their heads, wondering what was happening.

Pilots and crews from more than 15 commercial aircraft say they have encountered unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) in American airspace in recent weeks, according to eyewitness testimony and videos that detail the unusual events.

According to witnesses, the rash of incidents occurred over a seven-week period and involved sightings of bright luminous aerial objects in airspace from the American Midwest to as far west as the Pacific.

The objects, which have since garnered the nickname “Racetrack UAPs” for the descriptions of their odd circular flight paths, were first reported by researcher and television personality Ben Hansen undefined He appeared in Ground Zero to try and uncover the mystery of these phantom lights that have been buzzing the planes.

It was after that show that we were contacted by Steve Shippy & Cindy Kaza about a TV special they were doing about ghost flights, or haunted flights, particularly the haunted stories of Flight 401 -the perilous flight in 1972 where 101 people died when the plane crashed in the Everglades.

Now when you speak of haunted events undefined many people think of perhaps a haunted house, or bridge, or even an area where a major car accident happened. Nobody thinks of a haunted experience on a plane.

There was a bizarre story that happened a few weeks ago that I sat nn because I did not know how to approach it. I wasnundefinedt sure if it was funny or scary or ghostly- but still it is worthy of some attention.

Apparently there are multiple reports of a mysterious ghostly voice grunting, moaning, and groaning on American Airlines’ in-flight announcement systems, sometimes lasting the duration of the flight — and nobody knows who’s responsible or how it is happening.

The voice cannot be controlled by the crew.

Actor/producer Emerson Collins was on the flight where he collected video evidence that this was happening and the crew had no idea how it was happening or how they could stop it.

Many people thought it was funny at first undefined but then they began to get a little creeped out by it.

Meanwhile there have been several different reports from airline employees and insiders, on both Airbus A321 and Boeing 737-800 planes.

Other people have reported similar experiences, always on American Airlines, going as far back as July. Every known incident has gone through the greater Los Angeles area including Santa Ana) or Dallas-Fort Worth.

When people complained or reported the creepy incident American airlines responded.

“Our maintenance team thoroughly inspected the aircraft and the PA system and determined the sounds were caused by a mechanical issue with the PA amplifier, which raises the volume of the PA system when the engines are running,”

The P.A. systems are hardwired with no external access and no Wi-Fi component. The airline’s maintenance team is reviewing the additional reports.

American Airlines did not answer questions about how many reports it has received and whether the reports are from different aircraft.

. How can an amplifier malfunction to broadcast what sounds like a human voice without external access? On multiple flights and aircraft? They seem to be saying the source is artificial but has anyone heard artificial noise that sounds this human?

By nature, passenger announcement systems on planes are hardwired, closed systems, making them incredibly difficult to hack.

The passenger announcement system and interphone even have their own handsets. Is it bridging with Wi-Fi? Chances are low according to investigators.

There was no on seat entertainment which would not have bridged with the system.

The wide variation of utterances heard during Emerson’s three-hour flight are so wildly different, from groans and grunts to moans and shouts, that it’s difficult to imagine it as anything else but human.

But is it a ghost? On a plane? Someone Call William Shatner there is something on the wing.

This is where the story of flight 401 comes into the conversation,

Eastern Air Lines Flight 401, which was a Lockheed L-1011-1 Tristar jet was piloted by pilot Bob Loft, a veteran with over 30 years of flight experience, who was accompanied by First Officer Albert John Stockstill, flight engineer Donald Louis undefinedDonundefined Repo, and 10 flight attendants.

On December 29, 1972, Flight 401 was en route to Miami International Airport after departing from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York at 9:20 PM with 163 passengers on what was a seemingly problem-free and routine flight, when the horrific nightmare began just as the plane was approaching its final destination.

As the plane approached Miami International at 11:32 and the crew prepared for landing, First Officer Stockstill noticed that the landing gear indicator light, which was supposed to alert the flight crew that the nose gear was in the locked down position, had not illuminated.

The concerned crew decided to cycle the landing gear several times, yet the green indicator light still failed to turn on. Having been unable to get the desired confirmation light for the landing gear, Loft abandoned his approach and radioed in to the flight tower to explain the situation, after which the plane was put into a holding pattern over the nearby Everglades until the problem could be resolved.

As the plane cruised in its holding pattern at an altitude of 2,000 feet, the autopilot was engaged and the crew dismantled the light trying to discern the cause. Meanwhile, flight engineer Repo investigated the landing gear visually through a porthole to see that it was indeed down despite the lack of a blinking indicator light.

While all of this was going on and the crew was distracted by the malfunctioning landing gear light, no one noticed that the plane had been gradually losing altitude due to the fact that someone had inadvertently disconnected the autopilot by leaning into the yoke that toggled it on and off. The distraction, plus the fact that there were no lights or visual frames of reference within the darkened wilderness below, prevented anyone from really grasping just how shockingly and dangerously low the plane had descended.

By the time the altitude discrepancy was noticed by the crew, it was too late. Flight 401 plowed into the swampland below at a speed of 227 miles per hour, and the fuselage disintegrated as it crashed through swamp muck and grass, spewing fiery burning jet fuel as it went. First Officer Stockstill was killed on impact, and although pilot Robert Loft and flight engineer Donald Repo initially survived the crash, Loft died while being pulled from the wreckage and Repo succumbed to his grievous injuries later at a hospital. In total, the flight crew and 97 of the 163 passengers were killed in the horrific crash, as well as 2 of the 10 flight attendants, making the incident the second deadliest single aircraft disaster in United States history.

Not long after the accident, weird stories began to circulate amongst the airline community of ghostly encounters with the dead crew of Flight 401. Both the flight crews and passengers on other flights aboard various Eastern L-1011 Tristar jets began to report eerie sightings of the deceased pilot Robert Loft and flight engineer Donald Repo, under a variety of weird circumstances. Both of the dead men were often seen by the flight crew and passenger standing in the aisles, sitting in passenger seats, in lavatories, and even in the galley or cockpit.

One creepy account happened when a female passenger noticed a pale-looking, seemingly dazed, and unresponsive man in one of the seats and became worried about his health. She called over a flight attendant to voice her concerns about the unwell passenger when suddenly the mysterious man disappeared in full view of the attendant and several other passengers, leading the original witness to panic so badly that she had to be restrained and calmed down by other attendants.

Later, when the woman had recovered from her hysterics and was shown pictures of the airline’s various flight staff, she immediately recognized Repo as the man she had seen. On another occasion, the pilot and two flight attendants on another flight saw Loft wandering around the plane before take-off and even speaking to people before vanishing into thin air, leaving the surprised crew so badly shaken that the flight was canceled. Repo was allegedly particularly active and bold in his ghostly activities.

One report describes how a flight attendant saw a flight engineer fixing the oven in the galley, however, later the flight engineer of the flight insisted that he had not fixed the oven, nor ordered it to be fixed, and that he was the only engineer on board. The attendant later would recognize from photos that the man she had seen had been Repo. On another occasion, a pilot of another flight heard a strange knocking sound coming from a compartment below the cockpit.

Thinking it might be indicative of some mechanical trouble, he opened the compartment only to be startled by Repo hunkered down below, peering up at him from the darkness. When the ghostly flight engineer disappeared and the compartment was investigated, it became evident that there was indeed a malfunction that could have potentially led to disastrous flight complications.

More creepily, on numerous occasions, the ghosts of Loft and Repo were reported as speaking directly to flight crew, flight attendants, and passengers. One such incident occurred when an L-1011 flight engineer was going through pre-flight checks before take-off and Repo appeared beside the understandably startled man. The ghost of Repo reportedly said to him “You don’t have to worry about the pre-flight, I’ve already done it,” before vanishing right before his eyes. Another case occurred aboard the flight of Tri-Star 318, when a flight attendant saw Repo’s face staring out at her from the galley oven. The terrified attendant alerted other crew members, two of whom came running to see the apparition for themselves.

The flight engineer aboard the flight had known Repo in life and recognized him right away. Repo then allegedly spoke to them, saying undefinedWatch out for fire on this airplane.undefined The plane would later be beset by serious engine problems that were indeed caused by fire and which were severe enough to necessitate the cancellation of the last leg of the flight. In yet another incident, none other than the vice-president of Eastern Airlines himself had a ghostly encounter of his own when he started a conversation with a uniformed man sitting next to him in First Class, assuming that he was the captain of the flight.

To the executive’s horror, it slowly dawned on him that the man he was speaking to was none other than the late Robert Loft, after which the dead pilot promptly faded into thin air. On another occasion, Repo reportedly materialized next to an astonished pilot and declared undefinedThere will never be another crash. We will not let it happen,undefined before blinking out of existence. All of the varied sightings of the ghosts of Loft and Repo share some interesting, sometimes eerie characteristics. For one, the apparitions were always described as being incredibly life-like and realistic, looking like actual flesh and blood people rather than wraithlike, spectral entities.

It was often not until the ghosts had disappeared or the witness had recognized who they were that people even realized they were seeing or talking to a ghost at all. Additionally, the vast majority of sightings were made by multiple witnesses, often experienced flight crew, who all gave similar details in their reports.

Another interesting point is that apparently the ghosts of Loft and Repo were never seen on the same flights. Perhaps the spookiest similarity weaving throughout the reports is the presence of salvaged parts from the doomed Flight 401. Eastern Airlines had allegedly salvaged some of the undamaged parts from the crashed plane and had recycled them into other Eastern L-1011 Tristar jets. It appears that perhaps the ghosts of Flight 401 went with them, as it was later pointed out that these planes with the cannibalized parts in particular seemed to produce the largest concentrations of hauntings and sightings of the dead crewmen.

Recently it was reported that an individual who was on a red-eye flight from Chicago to Miami last year was supposedly visited by the crew from Flight 401 and the apparitions appeared when the aircraft was over the Florida Everglades.

This individual was sitting in a window seat with nobody else in the next seat or in front of this person. At around 5:00 am, this person closed their eyes and after feeling as if someone was near, this individual opened their eyes to find someone sitting in the aisle seat. This person greeted the male (in his late 40s or early 50s) who was wearing a pilot’s uniform and a captain’s hat that read Eastern Air Lines.

After nodding his head as a greeting, the pilot leaned over to look out of the plane’s window and that’s when his nametag became visible which read “Robert Loft”. The individual looked outside to see what the pilot was looking at and after turning to look back at the next seat over, Robert Loft had disappeared.

At that point, this person noticed that the older lady who was sitting across the aisle wasn’t there anymore and that another crew member was sitting in her seat (also wearing an Eastern Air Lines hat). When the individual walked across the aisle to get a better look at this man, the apparition said, “Hi, I’m Don. Are you looking for something?” By the time the person walked away, Don had also disappeared and the older woman was visible in her seat again.

All of the alleged ghost sightings aboard various L-1011 flights were reported to the US Flight Safety Foundation, which logged so many of the reports that it mentioned them in a newsletter, stating undefinedThe reports were given by experienced and trustworthy pilots and crew.

In the end there is no way to know if there was anything truly paranormal happening aboard any of these flights. All we have are the testimonies of the many eyewitnesses and curious details such as salvaged parts from Flight 401, which could be mere coincidence or significance exaggerated.

I guess this is why I like the aisle seat. Donundefinedt want to be sitting next to some ghost pilot who just happens to be napping.  Ground Zero acknowledges mystereiousuniverse.org as the main source of the Flight 401 story.



Steve Shippy is a filmmaker and paranormal expert. He grew up in a small town near Saginaw, MI. As a child, he was a victim of a severe haunting. The experience stayed with Shippy and he sought out paranormal experts who worked with him to develop a way to understand what is really going on in hauntings - and how to confront the entities to either make them leave or to bring them peace and to end the haunting. Shippy began documenting his work on film and to date has produced and directed more than 10 feature-length documentaries (all available on Amazon Prime) including “A Haunting on Hamilton Street,” “A Haunting on Dice Road” and “A Haunting on Brockway Street.”

Cindy Kaza is a psychic medium who had her first memorable encounter with a spirit when she was just 10 years old. She dismissed this chilling experience as just a dream until her early 20s, when she realized she was continually having psychically spiritual experiences. Since this “awakening,” Kaza has been searching for the truth about her gifts and testing the limits of her multifaceted abilities, including “automatic writing,” in which she allows the dead to communicate directly through her via free-form writing. Kaza has trained at England’s renowned Arthur Findlay School of Intuitive Sciences and now travels across America providing people startling evidence and messages from the dead.