This plane delivers tears and memories to Seattle siblings

Some Black Cats are lucky, especially a PBY Catalina flown by a Seattle man during World War II.

SEATTLE - The PBY Catalina , aka The Black Cat, a versatile World War II era patrol bomber, is not just any old plane to radio personality Mark Christopher and his sister Patty.

Their father flew one 75 years ago.

“Summer of '42,” Christopher said. “You're talking six months after Pearl Harbor.”

Their dad, George Thelen, kept documents and drawings he made about his experiences. Thelen was among a crew of eight patrolling the Aleutian Islands when their plane was shot up by a Japanese Zero.

They had to ditch in icy waters where they spent nine hours adrift.

“He was ready to give up I hear,” Christopher said.

But another PBY spotted the aircraft and sent word to the Coast Guard.

“And if he hadn't been rescued none of us would be standing today,” said Patty Sandoval. “Seven kids but we're all here and he's in our presence.”

There were 33-hundred PBYs at one time. Now there are just a few left capable of doing a water landing.

The siblings were hoping to see the big plane make a landing in Lake Union Thursday, but it was just too crowded.

11 years ago they lost their father. This week this brother and sister feel like they got to be with him one more time.

You can see a PBY Catalina fly Saturday and Sunday afternoon during the SeaFest Air show.

 

Evening is your guide to Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.   Watch it weeknights at 7:30 on KING 5 TV or streaming live on KING5.com.  Connect with Evening via FacebookTwitterInstagram or email: eveningtips@king5.com.

© 2017 KING-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment