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Up, Up . . . and a-Wait a Minute!

October 21, 1987|ANN CONNORS

Douglas Youngs had spent four years rebuilding his vintage single-engine plane, but the ungrateful wretch turned out to have a mind of its own and flew off by itself one day, as a helpless Youngs watched it vanish over the horizon. Youngs, of Lorraine, N.Y., was trying to take off from a small airstrip when he flooded the engine of the two-seater Aeronca. Then he forgot to turn off the throttle. So, when he reached into the cockpit to start the propeller after draining the engine, the plane shot off down the runway under its own power. "It was very neatly circling up and up," Youngs said. "The last I saw it, it appeared to be at 3,000 feet and headed to the northeast." Residents of an area about 10 miles from the airstrip reported hearing a crash, and a search was under way for what was expected to be the wreckage of the plane. "In our 30 years of marriage, I have only seen him cry a few times," said Youngs' wife, Beverly. "He was crying."

--Another runaway, a 12-year-old South Korean boy, made a break for freedom but couldn't stay awake long enough to enjoy it. Chung Chin Hwan, a sixth-grader from Taejon, near Seoul, took shelter in a shipping container aboard a freighter and nodded off. When he woke up, he was rolling on the waves, locked inside the box and headed for an unknown destination. His screams for help went unanswered for three days, until crewmen on the Panamanian-registered Morning Grace finally heard him.

--The description of this runaway sounded rather bizarre: 4 feet tall, hairy, long-armed, toothless and wearing blue pants and size 6EE boots. Yet 13 hours after the bulletin went out, the police had their chimpanzee. Kid Wyz merrily made the break out a back door of his owner's home in Hicksville, N.Y., but was happy to be reclaimed after a madcap race with the law around the neighborhood. When Kyd Wyz saw his owner, Jack Rynsky, after police had cornered him in a vegetable garden, "he jumped right in his arms," said Officer Rick Hannsgen.

--Whatever else may be going on after they pass on, a group of parapsychologists is hoping that a number of the deceased will pause in their unearthly doings for a friendly chat with the living. Members of the Survival Research Foundation, dedicated to learning whether the human personality goes on after death, are seeking volunteers who will memorize a complicated code and promise to communicate it after they die. "If we had one success, it would be phenomenal. We're going for 5,000," said Arthur Berger, president of the foundation.

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