| The Arctic North (northern parts of Canada and Alaska) is a cruel environment for men and machine; for planes it is no different. The weather creates all sorts of hazards, the terrain offers its own variety of opportunities for disaster.
Men are prone to make mistakes and machines are bound to fail at some point. Here are some of the results. I hope we can establish the identities and the locations of these planes, help will be welcomed.
| While browsing my database (16Nov16) for random updates I came across an update for a
Douglas DC-3 (C-47D 43-49403, c/n 26664/15219) wreck near Gustavus, Glacier Bay in Alaska.
The plane crash was on the 23Nov1957, four people died, seven survived.
Crash report on Aviation Safety Network.
Dietmar wrote me in Sept.2012:
"A possible candidate for this airplane is c/n 3799/N58558 (ex UC-78, USAAF 42-58308). It was sold to Hawley Evans, dba Fairbanks Air Service, Fairbanks, AK, 31Mar54, and later modified with a right-side oversize cargo door and emergency window exit. Its last recorded annual inspection was 22-5-61.
Andreas Morgner wrote me this in Feb.2008 :
A few facts:
http://www.geocities.com/alaskanheritage/REEVEFLEET.html (dead link) - N91016 w/o Nikolski,AK 29May65
Michael Prophet made me aware of the fact thís DC-3 actually featured on the photo shown on the Wikipedia page:
Michael Prophet also stumbled on this photo in an Airways magazine (March 2008), at the end of the runway.
Jan Fr. Mack made me notice this WW2 B-24 bomber, the wreckage surviving at Atka Island (Aleuts), Alaska.
Jason Streitmann wrote me in Nov.2011:
Mike Criss likes hiking in remote areas. He lives in Wasilla and on his hikes he comes across quite a few crashsites. Here is one he would like to know more about...
This website identifies it as a Douglas C-47, 43-48069. The crashdate was 21Apr52 but except'Alaska' that website offers no further details.
The website www.aerotransport.org has more details: 43-48069 is a C-47A-DK with msn/ manufacturer's serial number (aka construction number or c/n) 25330. It has a remark; 'ultimate fate obscured', well now we know..
The Air-Britain publication "DC-3, The First Seventy Years" has a detailed history-
Kyle McNish sent me these photo in Nov.2020, after having suffered for years a lack of photo(s) to this issue!
EC-47Q 42-24304 (c/n 10166); exif data on the photo shows 13Jul2019.
Allegedly it did not quite make it to Klawock, Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area (Alaska, USA)
In Propliner magazine no.111 -Summer 2007- I had read about a Douglas EC-47 (42-24304) wreck surviving on Prince of Wales Island. The wreckage is located a little north of Klawock, visible on Google Earth.
Joe Baugher has on his website "24304 (msn 10166) delivered Sep 1943. No card. MAAAG Portugal 1956-1963. Converted to EC-47Q. Crew uninjured. Crash-landed on Prince of Wales Island, N of Klawock, Alaska Oct 25, 1968 while enroute to SEA. Crew uninjured. The wreck is still there."
Crashed during ferry flight to Vietnam.
In Air-Britain's magnificent DC-3 publication there is no mention of that second crash and c/n 10166 has its ending at Prince of Wales Island in Alaska:
Here is proof by Google Earth it is still there in the Big Salt estuary (GE 11-2020)...
Sean Keating made me aware of this wreck, he wrote:
The story of the crash of N103 (ATL-98 conversion no.7, ex DC-4 cn10273) can be found on Aviation-Safety Network :
Andreas forwarded me this link: www.dced.state.ak.us/dca/commdb/images/Venetie_planecrash.jpg (also found 'dead' in june 2015) which shows the following image:
Rob Tracz sent me photos of N103 in better days, click here
Andreas Morgner sent me the link to Google Maps, to further facilitate travellers... |
Here are the coördinates: 67°1'16"N 146°31'55"W
Andreas sent me this image in june 2015; he wrote:
Casey Lasota wrote me in August 2019: "28Jul2018 took a pic of the Venetie crash. Enjoy and cheers!"
In 2019 (september) I noted an update on Facebook; the Carvair wreck on the Chandalar River is still around!
|Thomas Bouwens from Alaska
sent me this image and the question:
"I wonder if anyone has information on these wrecks I found on Google Earth at a mining strip, 4 miles east of Chandalar Lake, Alaska."
Marc Hookerman came up with the identities: "They are C-46 N92853 and (top) C-119 N15509. That is the Tobin Creek Mine Airstrip (closed)."
C-119G N15509 (c/n 10775) crashed on 21Apr84, while on take off from Venetie Airport with destination Fairbanks. See Aviation Safety Network.
NOTE: James Lumley disagreed (dec.2013) with the identity of this wreck, he wrote in dec.2013: "The C-119 identified as the wreck at the Tobin Creek airstrip is NOT N15509, as that aircraft now sits in a museum.
|Michael Prophet (propliner enthusiast) noted this wreckage on
the website www.walter-steinberg.de/Koyukuk/Koyukuk.htm
Click the above link or the thumbnail to the webpage, for a larger image.
Michael suggested: "...it is the Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar, survivor N8682 of Hawkins & Powers (Tanker 138)
Location would be some 30 miles south of Bettles Field and near the Koyukuk River, close to the village of Allakaket; about 200 miles northwest of Fairbanks.
Accident details on Aviation-Safety.Net
This would be the C-119 Flying Boxcar, described in the Legend of Dead Dugan.
| Phil Schaefer sent me this photo in June 2007, he wrote:|
I've got a couple of aerial photos of the B-24 wreck near Wood River Butts, about 30 miles south of Fairbanks if you're interested. According to the great guys at the Pioneer Park museum it crashed shortly after WWII while trying to recreate a 4 engine failure that caused another plane to crash (I believe that is the wreck near the Charlie River). Unfortunately, they succeeded...
Not much left of the wreckage now, a wildfire a couple years ago did a lot of damage.
Tim Berg replied with the following information:
"That picture is of the first B-24 that went in with engine- and prop problems. No one was killed in it. There were some broken bones...
The second one, that went out to duplicate the first one, is about 4 miles south of the one you have pictures of and it had no survivors. It is much harder to see.
I do have some pictures of it. Fire never got to either one of them. I have an article from the Air Force Flying Safety Magazine Published June 1990 about the incidents, crashed in 1943."
|Craig Bass wrote me in June 2009:
" Just finished reading a story by 'Lieutenant Leon Crane A.C. as told to Gerold Frank and James D. Horan' titled 'Eighty-Four Days in the Arctic' in an old book my father-in-law gave me entitled 'The 100 Best True Stories of World War II' (Wm. H. Wise & Co., Inc., 1945).
Lt. Leon Crane was the co-pilot of the B-24 that crashed near Charlie River while doing prop tests.
The story is about his experience as a survivor of the flight. Pretty interesting read, so I decided to see if I could find where Charlie River is, and while I didn’t find a map, I did find your website...
What spurred me to write to you was that Tim Berg quoted on your website from an article from the Air Force Flying Safety Magazine (publ. June 1990) saying that quote/ Fire never got to either one of them /unquote (referring to the two B-24 crashes near Charlie Lake).
Perhaps the article was referring to natural fires over the years; however, Lt. Crane says:
"I had landed on a snow-covered slope. Far above me, I made out the flaming wreck of the plane. It was at least five miles away, a distant, black-red glow with black smoke spreading and twisting above it. I looked into the valley below. There was a small stream threading its way down there, with spruce trees growing on both sides. I had landed in a rather barren area. The only vegetation about me was a few scrub brush pushing through the snow. I was well above time line."
"It was very quiet. Not a sound of anything. I shouted, 'Ho!' at the top of my voice. I yelled again and again. No answer, not so much as an echo in that rarified atmosphere. I must be up pretty high. Now I began to realize that my hands were almost blue with cold: I had left my mittens in the plane. I picked up my chute and wrapped it into a small bundle and set out to climb toward the wreck. We had always been told that if we crashed, the plane was far easier to pick up from the air than a man walking on foot. But I’d no sooner taken half a dozen steps before I was stumbling and floundering. Under the snow the mountainside was a mass of glacial boulders, rounded like cobblestones, ranging in size from pebbles to boulders too heavy to lift. It was next to impossible to walk. I tried struggling on, but after about half an hour I had made less than a few hundred yards, and I was exhausted. I cleared away the snow from a large boulder, sat down on it and as calmly and methodically as I could, took stock of the situation."
"I was in a hell of a fix. On the minus side, (1), I didn’t know where I was, save that I was about an hour’s flight east of Big Delta. That might mean as much as 200 miles from Big Delta. (2) The men at Ladd Field didn’t know where I was. The last time we’d reported was at 11 o’clock. We were then immediately over Big Delta. They had no way of knowing that we had gone far out of our way to find that gap in the overcast. Things had happened so swiftly in the plane that we’d had no chance to radio anyone. (3) Our B-24 carried a heavy load of gasoline. I’d seen such B-24’s, heavy with gas, go up in flame. I knew the chance of any emergency equipment, such as food, guns, sleeping bags, being left in the plane was pretty slight." (p. 857)
He chose to make his way downhill where he encountered a stream he later learned was the Charlie River. Later that night, he says: "I could still make out a distant red glow far above me. The B-24 still burned." (p858)
As the title indicates, it took him 84 days to find civilization and be flown back to Ladd Field, Alaska, where the flight had originated. He makes no mention of any of the other crewmembers ever making it home.
Anyway, as I said, it was a good read, and I found the pictures of the crash site on your website to be interesting, and thought you might find Lt. Crane’s account from immediately following the crash to be interesting. If you can find the book, he details the entire flight through his return to civilization. "
Karl Hayes wrote me in January 2009 with a nice challenge...:
Curtiss C-46 N67982 - see seperate item further down
Report from Thomas Hird, pilot flying in this crash...
Casey Lasota wrote me in August 2019: "Am up in Beaver working a fire, and came upon the Boxcar wreckage.
Karl Hayes wrote me in January 2009 with a nice challenge...:
While N208M has been adressed in the item above, this next one is about C-46 N67982.
"Karl wrote: "He also mentions an incident involving a C-46 in the spring of 1968.
Fortunately Francis Blake came to the rescue in may 2017! He contacted me with a splendid story and this unique photo of the unfortunate Curtiss C-46 N67982!
I have not been able to find an occurrence report, perhaps this 1968 incident is buried in some paper files somewhere.
I think the nickname found use after the incident as Google maps still goes by the native name 'Nullack Lake'.
In the book 'Triumph over Turbulence' (see my books page) I came across this photo:
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