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Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry survived a plane crash in 1947 and he went back to evacuate passengers from the burning plane

Goran Blazeski

Gene Roddenberry was born on the 19th of August, 1921, in El Paso, Texas. He was known as the creator of the original Star Trek television series.

While young he and his family moved to Los Angeles, where he studied three years to become a policeman before he decided to transfer his academic interest to aeronautical engineering and got a piloting license.

Roddenberry was a decorated B-17 pilot. He volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Corps in the autumn of 1941, and was ordered into training as a flying cadet when the United States entered World War II.

Gene Roddenberry, during his senior year at high school

Gene Roddenberry, during his senior year at high school

Gene Roddenberry possessed a passion for literature and futurology, and while he was sent to the South Pacific as Second Lieutenant he sold stories to flying magazines, and later poetry to publications, including The New York Times.

When World War II was over, he joined Pan American World Airways. At this period of his life, he also studied literature at Columbia University. One of his best stories was from his time working as a pilot for Pan Am.

On June the 19th, 1947, he was the third officer on a flight from Karachi, India to Istanbul. At the beginning of the flight, everything seemed normal, but after five hours in the air something happened that no one expected.

Lockheed L-049 Constellation in Trans World Airlines livery, similar to the crash aircraft. Photo Credit

Lockheed L-049 Constellation in Trans World Airlines livery, similar to the crash aircraft. Photo Credit

Five hours after takeoff, engine one on the left wing stopped working after a rocker arm broke from fatigue. When one of the plane’s two engines stopped working, the second engine overheated and started a fire.

When people saw the fire they started panicking and Roddenberry moved from the cockpit into the main cabin where he comforted the passengers.

The engine that was burning fell out of the plane, and the fire was quickly spread. Eventually, the plane crashed in the deserts of Syria. As soon as the aircraft came to rest, Gene Roddenberry, suffering only bruises and a couple broken ribs, sprang into action.

Gene Roddenberry (photographed in 1961) was the ranking flight officer following the crash.

Gene Roddenberry (photographed in 1961) was the ranking flight officer following the crash.

Gene went back to the burning plane to and started to pull out the surviving passengers. Overall, he managed to help 22 people survive the crash of Pan Am Flight 121.

After that, he led the survivors in finding help. He split them into two teams and they managed to find a village and called for help. The Syrian Military helped the survivors and they were able to go back into the US.

Roddenberry decided to quit piloting after the crash, and he was determined to follow his dream and write for television. He first wrote a show called The Lieutenant, but he was much more popular when he created the original Star Trek television series.

Gene Roddenberry sadly died on October the 24th, 1991.