BAKER, George R.

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BAKER, George R. ( -1933)

From the Santa Cruz Sentinel, November 14, 1933

In the News~

November 3, 1933 [Evening Independent, Massillon, Ohio]: “Son in law of Moffett killed. Avalon, Catalina Island, Cal., Nov. 3.—E. McFarlane Moore, former naval officer and son-in-law of the late Rear Admiral William A. Moffett, and George Baker, airline pilot, were killed when a ten-passenger amphibian plane of the Wilmington-Catalina Airways, Ltd., capsized in taking off half a mile from shore Thursday. Walter Seiler, also a pilot, was seriously injured. Moore, a 1921 Annapolis graduate, reorganized the Wilmington-Catalina airline in 1931 when he became director. It is a subsidiary of the Wilmington Transportation Company, part of the estate of the late William Wrigley, Jr., capitalist and sportsman of Chicago.”

November 8, 1933 [TI/Avalon]: “While taking off from the airport last Thursday for the early morning flight to the mainland, without passengers, one of the amphibian planes of the local airline suddenly swerved and overturned while traveling at a high rate of speed. The impetus was so great that Elliott McFarlane Moore, manager of the airline, and co-pilot George R. Baker, were instantly killed. Senior pilot W. L. Seiler was unconscious when taken to the Catalina Hospital after the crash. The exact cause of the accident that resulted in the two fatalities has not yet been determined. It is thought, however, that because there were no passengers on board, that some sort of a test was being made by the men on board the plane. The water was smooth, the flying conditions were ideal, and so far, according to the experts who have studied the wrecked plane, no mechanical defect has been discovered. One observer suggested that perhaps, as the plane ‘stepped’ from the water into the air the left pontoon dragged, which would swing the plane into a nosedive. As the plane overturned the occupants were hurled head first into the object nearest to them. Immediately after the mishap the airport crew, who had witnesses the upset nearly two miles offshore, sped to the rescue in the airport patrol boat and succeeded in freeing Pilot W. L. Seiler and recovering the body of Mr. Moore. Pilot Seiler arrived at the hospital in the city ambulance thirty minutes after the catastrophe. Funeral services were held in Long Beach Saturday for the co-pilot, George R. Baker, who was 28 years of age, and had been an Avalon resident for several months. At the request of relatives in the east, the remains of Lieut. Elliott McFarlane Moore, aged 36, were taken to Washington, D. C. for interment. This is the first fatal accident on the Wilmington-Catalina Airline that has occurred since its inauguration, when Mr. E. McFarlane Moore was made manager, May 30, 1931. Only the day previous to his death Manager Moore made the announcement that the Catalina Airline had carried more than 36,000 passengers, and had flown more than 125,000 miles; that among the passengers, had been a ten-day-old baby and its mother; and on another occasion one of the passengers had been a nervous old lady, celebrating her 97th birthday by taking a round trip ride on the cross-channel plane! It is understood the service on the line will be resumed within the next few days, as soon as one of the other ships can be taken from its winter storage and placed in service. The safety precautions taken by the Catlaina Airline has not only been highly commended by the hundreds of passengers who have made the cross channel trip, but these precautions have also met with the exacting regulations of government inspectors. The twin motored amphibians used in the service are of the latest design, and carry ten passengers…”