69 Years Ago Today Gene Roddenberry’s Life Changed


On June 18th 1947 Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry saved the lives of twenty two passengers on a Pan Am flight from Calcutta to New York and it changed his life forever.

ICYMI: Lessons in leadership from Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

We all know that Gene Roddenberry was a man with an incredible vision for the future, but sixty nine years ago tonight he was just a pilot who’s life was about to change.

You’ve probably seen the fantastic Oatmeal comic explaining the story of Gene Roddenberry saving twenty two passengers on a Pan Am flight from Calcutta to New York, but there’s more to the story. The Oatmeal comic is a wonderful tribute, but according to Check-Six.com the story of that night is even more harrowing than you know.

"Gene pulled out several people who were themselves on fire and used a pillow he found on the ground to smother the flames. On board, the flames were growing in intensity, so he could only make a couple of trips into the passenger compartment. The last passenger he pulled out died in his arms. The wind changed, blowing the burning gasoline directly over the ship’s wreckage; Gene and Volpe were unable to rescue any more passengers out of the plane.The other passengers safe for the moment, the trio turned their thoughts to their friends on the flight deck. They ran around the burning fuselage and wings to the front of the plane. Looking in the cockpit windows, they could see the flight crew sitting at their stations, slumped over their seats, dead or unconscious. Frantically pounding on the windows, Volpe, Bray, and Roddenberry tried to rouse their friends until the flames drove them back."

Gene Roddenberry resigned from Pan Am after the tragedy, but he never stopped helping people. It’s probably safe to say that without Roddenberry’s experience sixty nine years ago tonight Star Trek might not even exist.

Take a moment this week to help someone, for Gene.

Be sure to check out the Oatmeal’s comic on Gene Roddenberry and read the whole story at Check-Six.com. 

Next: 50 Actors Who Could Be The Next Star Trek Captain

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