Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Sinking of the Shooting Star, part 3

La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Tim Klein on the Shooting Star,
La Paz
     I’ve heard again from the daughter, Sherry, of one of the victims of the mysterious 1974 “Shooting Star” disaster. I had asked her if she knew any of the circumstances of the photograph at left—evidently, of her uncle, Tim Klein, aboard the ill-fated Shooting Star, probably in La Paz, Baja (Mexico).
     Earlier, she had written:
     A little background on Tim: he joined the Marines right out of high school, went to Viet Nam, got injured, was sent back into the field and injured again. This time he was released from the military and, at the age of 19, he was Ogden, Utah's youngest veteran.
Executive Assistant to
Supervisor Ralph B. Clark
     Three Klein brothers vanished with the Shooting Star.
     Air Force vet Tommy Klein, Tim’s brother, was the 27-year-old “executive assistant” to Ralph B. Clark, the OC Supervisor (4th District). Clark was a “conservative Democrat,” and he eventually served many terms as Supervisor, starting in 1970.
     “Executive assistant” was also the title of 25-year-old Tom Fuentes, though Tom worked for Supervisor Ronald Caspers, a Republican.
     Ex-Marine John Klein was two-year-old Sherry’s dad. He was 26.
     Sherry writes:
     I spoke with my uncle … today and he informed me that Tim was a mechanic and that he and my dad [John] had been living on the boat for approximately three months as caretakers before the ship took off.
    ...He thought that they were harbored in La Paz....
     I did ask him who would have been on that [June 9] flight [from LAX to La Paz, in Baja] and he said it probably would have been everyone but my dad (John) and Tim. He did say that they had found Tommy's car at the airport [LAX, I guess] and it had been broken into. He couldn't recall the whole story.
Caspers, et al., fly down on June 9,
disappear June 14
     In his 1974 articles, Wayne Clark wrote that Harber (the Shooting Star's owner) and Caspers had planned a possible June trip during a four-day fishing vacation, on the SS, out of La Paz in early May. It appears, then, that Tim and John, the SS's caretakers (since April), and probably brother Tommy, were along for that trip. I'm guessing that, after the May trip, Tim and John stayed in La Paz with the SS, waiting for the June trip, which, among other things, would return the SS to its home berth in Dana Point. According to Clark, yacht owners often sailed south to Baja, and perhaps around the cape to the Gulf of California, but then left the more difficult return trip—bucking the prevailing winds—to hired crews. Perhaps Tim and John Klein were (potentially) that crew.
     The sudden loss of the three brothers must have been devastating to the Klein family in Utah, and I'm told that some of the family still has difficulty speaking about the tragedy. The Caspers family, too, must have been devastated. On the June trip, Caspers had brought along his sons, Kirk, 20, and Erik, 18. All were lost in June (luckily, a third son, Greg, 16, was away on a backpacking trip).

To be continued.... SEE Part 4

Teaser: guess who, at one point, called off the search for the Shooting Star and crew?

4 comments:

  1. That's interesting that she looked you up.

    ReplyDelete
  2. There comes a point in your life when your own searches have led to nothing but roadblocks & deadends. After another family member came across some older blogs about the Shooting Star, I decided to make contact & I'm sure glad I did.
    It's nice to see it brought back out into the light again. I want to know what happened to my Daddy & my uncles. I believe it's my right to know.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Linda Klein Berrett12:46 AM, March 09, 2012

    There is one point I'd like to correct, my two brothers John and Tim both enlisted in the Marines after graduation. John in 1966 and Tim in 1967. You stated John was an ex Marine...this may sound like a minor detail to people, but my brothers were both proud Marines. There are no "Ex" Marines, a Marine is a Marine for life....he was not ex Marine, he was a former Marine. Once a Marine...always a Marine. Tom was an Airman, he also enlisted after graduation. All three served their country with honor.
    Thank You, for taking interest in this story. I have no doubt there are still people who know the truth about this tragedy. Hopefully someone will come forward with information that could help the families make sense of this horrible event

    ReplyDelete

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