Turk File

Local businessman forever impacted by Eastern Air Lines Flight 304 tragedy

by Leslie Turk

Patrick Kane II recalls his mother awakening him 50 years ago to say his dad's plane was missing.

Lafayette businessman Patrick Kane II has lived the Eastern Air Lines Flight 304 tragedy every day for the past 50 years.

Feb. 25, 1964, was the day he lost his father.

Patrick Kane II works with his son, fulfulling a dream he had of going into business with his own father, who died 50 years ago when Eastern Air Lines Flight 304 went down in Lake Pontchartrain.

The aircraft in which his father, an engineer, was a passenger went down in Lake Pontchartrain five miles east of the Causeway, killing all 58 on board. It was the first jet liner crash in New Orleans' history.

Kane II, now 66, recounts the tragedy in an anniversary story published online Tuesday in The Times-Picayune and in print tomorrow. Then in junior high, he tells the paper of his and his father's dashed plans to go into business together. The dream lived on, however, as Kane II went into business with his own son, Patrick Kane III.

Their 25-year-old Lafayette-based company, Machine Tools Inc., is today one of the region's most successful - ranking No. 42 on ABiz's list of Acadiana's Top 50 Privately Held Companies with $31 million in 2012 revenues (view the list here). It is in the process of being sold to Kane III, who is 34.

Read the online T-P story here and be on the lookout for tomorrow's print version.