F/E Gerald Toker set the cross-feed valves open to help keep the PW-R1830's running, but minutes later saw the #3 tachometer start to swing wildly as the thirsty engine gasp at the air it was receiving. Ship #675 was now drifting for the hills with a surging #3 engine and #2 stuck at 1950 rpm.
"Don Chutes - Get Ready To Cut The Cargo Ropes!" ordered Captain Hunt. Nav. Wes Witte and Gerald Toker struggled with the cargo door that had jammed as the twisting ship yawed violently from side to side. Radio Operator Bob Hardeman was attempting to break into a casual conversation between Kunming and Yunnanyi when the Yunnanyi beacon went off the air. " Turn On Your DF!" was returned with "Minute..." There wasn't any time to wait.
Captain Hunt gave his order "BAIL OUT!" Hardeman sent his final message "Engines Bad-Jumping Out..." and threw the antenna reel to the "IN" position and headed aft to help the other three with the jammed door. "Anything I can do for you before I go?" asked F/O Smith. " Try to get the escape hatch open before you go, Wayne." F/O Smith did so immediately and went aft in to the swaying tail.
First Hardeman, then Witte and the Toker into the blast of cold night air. Wayne stood before the open door and looked forward as Toby tried to control the violent swings caused by the now sputtering #3 engine. As he leaped, he shouted upward to the wind "Get Out Toby, for God's sake Get Out!"
No one will ever know why after his 56th crossing of the "Hump", Captain
Toby Hunt didn't get out of the stricken C-87. When he ordered his crew
to bailout, everyone felt that there were only minutes remaining in order
to successfully exit the surge induced swings of the aircraft. In all probability
Toby lost a third engine while waiting till his crew was safely out of