Gene Roddenberry Survived a Plane Crash-Truth!
Summary of eRumor:
Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry survived a plan crash in 1947 and helped save the lives of more than 100 passengers on board.
It’s true that Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry survived a plan crash in 1947 and helped save the lives of 122 passengers.
In November 2015, a web comic called “The Oatmeal” rekindled the legendary account of how Gene Roddenberry survived on a plane crash on June 18, 1947, when an engine on a Pan Am flight from Calcutta to New York caught fire.
In a series of animated story boards, the comic strip recounts how Roddenberry, a member of the flight crew, helped calm passengers before the plane crashed into the Syrian dessert. Fourteen passengers were killed on impact, and, with a pair of broken ribs, Roddenberry continuously went back into the flaming wreckage to pull passengers out, according to the comic strip’s narrative:
And with a pair of broken ribs, he went back into the burning plane, pulling survivors from the wreckage.
Eventually the wind turned and fire overtook the aircraft.
And so they waited.
Morning Arrived., but a rescue did not. The co-pilot took charge, and formed two search parties. The first party went in one direction, the second party, along with the co-pilot, went in the other, wandering into the dessert.
The eventually found a village. A village which had a radio.
That account of Gene Roddenberry surviving a plan crash checks out.
Gene Roddenberry flew B- 17 bombers for the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal for his service. Then, after the war, he joined Pan American World Airways and survived the plane crash on June 18, 1947, according to Gene Roddenberry’s official biography:
At war’s end, he joined Pan American World Airways. It was on a flight from Calcutta that his plane lost two engines and caught fire in flight, crashing at night in the Syrian desert. As the senior surviving officer, Roddenberry sent two Englishmen swimming across the Euphrates River in quest of the source of a light he had observed just prior to the crash impact. The Englishmen reached a Syrian military outpost, which sent a small plane to investigate. Roddenberry returned with the small plane to the outpost, where he broadcast a message that was relayed to Pan Am, which sent a stretcher plane to the rescue. Roddenberry later received a Civil Aeronautics commendation for his efforts during and after the crash.
After Gene Roddenberry left aviation to pursue a career in television, he had a stop-off as a Los Angeles police officer before he found success. Then, in 1966, Roddenberry created and produced Star Trek, which went on to develop one of the most loyal fan bases in the history of television.
So, accounts of a young Gene Roddenberry surviving a plan crash before going on to create and produce Star Trek are true.