MILLBRAE, Calif. (KRON) — In Millbrae, a city with deep ties to the aviation community — it sits near SFO — there is a new memorial to commemorate the loss of Pan Am flight 7. On Tuesday, the City of Millbrae unveiled a monument to Pan Am Flight 7.
Back in 1957, the Boeing 377 crashed en route from San Francisco to Hawaii. All eight crew members and 36 passengers died. Fifteen of the people onboard were from the Bay Area.
Ken Fortenberry’s father was the co-pilot on the flight. Fortenberry was 6 when the plane went down. He has spent years working to make this memorial a reality.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my dad,” Fortenberry said. “We need to remember these folks. Some of us got together and formed a nonprofit to bring us to where we are today to remember these folks and never be forgotten.”
The crash of Pan Am Flight 7 and the subsequent investigation eventually led, in part, to the creation of the Federal Aviation Agency in 1958, which then became the Federal Aviation Administration or FAA in 1967.
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Fortenberry said that the loss of Pan Am flight 7, and his father, made aviation safer for everyone.
“It was an important part of American aviation at the time,” he said. “This was the most luxurious airline in the world. Because of this crash a number of changes happened in American aviation.”
The new memorial sits just outside Millbrae City Hall and is open to the public.
The exact cause of the crash of Pan Am Flight 7 was never determined.