By Elizabeth Cook April 29, 2015 at 10:27 pm. The plane had barely made it into the air, and had been shot at and even had a grenade thrown at it as it rolled down the runway during take-off. Nearly everyone who was asked stepped forward. We're fortunate to have Al Topping's account, who had arrived to become Pan Am's man in Saigon in December of 1972. Thanks for contacting us. Harnage shoved the barrel of a machine gun in the man’s face and responded, “Go ahead. Thank God - we made it. A list of potential Vietnamese evacuees was compiled. As we lifted off the runway that day my heart was pounding. Saigon is Falling. Welcome to Vietnam. Under normal circumstances it could take as much as two to three months to process the documents to permit a Vietnamese citizen to leave the country. She and another are willing to sacrifice their lives for ... See full summary », Hoyce and Bess Guthrie are long married Montana ranchers who come to a major crossroads in their lives. So what better time than May 1st for the North Vietnamese to celebrate the take-over of South Vietnam. So now I had officially adopted our 61 employees and family members bringing the total number to over 300. Wooden stairs had been built to the top of the roof’s elevator shaft to aid the evacuation. There were 463 people onboard, including more than 300 employees and family members and U.S. Embassy officials. A clean family movie of action, humor, and love. When it arrived in Saigon, there fuel leaking from bullet holes in the wings, and blood running down the landing gear from the crushed stowaways in the wheel wells. As I watched the gradual collapse of South Vietnam I knew what was going to happen and I knew what we had to do, I just wasn’t sure how we would accomplish that mission. It’s one of the iconic images of the Vietnam War. ... See full summary ». There was no time for that. Helicopter pilot O.B. “Instead of unleashing Americans’ charitable impulses, the news convinced them that the United States should avoid becoming reinvolved in the war, even on a humanitarian basis, and opinion polls showed a majority of Americans opposed to accepting Vietnamese refugees.”. In early April, the Americans had scouted rooftops as potential helicopter landing sites, choosing 13 across Saigon. All of these employees and family leaving their country for the first, and what could be the final time, with whatever belongings could fit in a carry-on bag and heading to a country where they knew nobody and had no idea where they would live. American citizens try to help ... 8 of 8 people found this review helpful. After the Last Flight Out. Rated PG for mild language and thematic elements. They quickly began planning to evacuate as many Vietnamese as possible and resettle them in the US. Pan Am Flight 841 was a commercial passenger flight of a Boeing 747 from San Francisco, California to Saigon, South Vietnam which was hijacked over the South China Sea on 2 July 1972, ostensibly as an act of protest concerning US involvement in the Vietnam War as well as the expulsion from the United States of the South Vietnamese hijacker, a recent graduate of a US university. “Women outside the walls wailed and wept,” the author writes. It was impossible to put that image out of my mind as we contemplated our own imminent evacuation in those last days of April. The last passenger to emerge from the chopper was Martin, wearing dark glasses and carrying a battered black-leather case, his silver-gray hair blowing in the helicopter's prop wash. Americans can visit the country with no difficulty, and many do. 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I was stunned when our HR supervisor returned from the Ministry of The Interior with a stack of immigration documents for my signature. Vietnam is gone.”, “The news reports, photographs, and films of Da Nang … received wide coverage in the United States,” Clarke writes. The slender teenage girl is Tuyet-Dong Bui, who would go on to earn a degree in microbiology before becoming a biotech researcher. Just below her is her brother, who had traded his motorbike to the driver of a high-ranking military official in exchange for being shown to the building. 63,193, © 2020 NYP Holdings, Inc. All Rights Reserved 93,166, This story has been shared 69,230 times. I began to breath again. View production, box office, & company info. Saigon was now surrounded by Communist troops and what a target we were. It included high-ranking officials, translators and others at high risk. Do Not Sell My Personal Information, Your California Privacy Rights Last Flight From Saigon, Vietnam: 40 Years Later, by Al Topping Many of the memories are still clearly branded in my mind of what took place during the final weeks, days and hours before Clipper Unity N653PA lifted off the runway at Tan Son Nhut airport in Saigon. Chaos is building. After Da Nang fell, World Airlines, a government contractor tasked with flying troops and equipment in and out of the country, attempted that March to evacuate people from the city, leading to a chaotic scene as panicked Vietnamese tried to push their way on. American citizens try to help South Vietnamese refugees escape on the last commercial flight, that will be permitted to leave the city. With captain Bob Berg in command and an all-volunteer crew we headed for Clark AFB in the Philippines with 463 souls on board.