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claborde

Registered: 05/31/07
Posts: 3
 #1 
Does anyone have the GPS coordinates for the tail section & main crash site of the Hughes Airwest DC-9 (flight 706) that crashed in Fish Canyon, CA (just outside of Duarte)?  Been doing a bunch of research, and thought about doing the hike.

Thanks
10tweaker

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Registered: 12/01/06
Posts: 579
 #2 
You may already have this, but figured I'd throw it out there anyway, on the off chance you don't.

Jim

http://amelia.db.erau.edu/reports/ntsb/aar/AAR72-26.pdf

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claborde

Registered: 05/31/07
Posts: 3
 #3 
Jim,

Thanks for the link!  I already have the NTSB report, unfortunately it doesn't give the GPS coordinates in it.

Thanks again,
Chris
XHunter

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Registered: 11/29/06
Posts: 760
 #4 
 Don't have the coordinates but, I knew someone who went in there during the 1990's and said it was a MAJOR bushwhacking trek in and out...remember he mentioned crawling part of the way. Be prepared for that. I was on a search last week in chest high weeds, not the dreaded California canyon "hide an entire tail section" brush, just dense weeds that made walking or seeing anything on the ground next to impossible.

                                         Tony


 Is it big enough to be seen on Google Earth?

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claborde

Registered: 05/31/07
Posts: 3
 #5 
Tony,

I think it is big enough.  But searching the entire Fish Canyon on Google Earth may make my eye fall out of my head.  I do know that when they had the fire a few years back, it really reduced the amount a thick brush on the hike.

Thanks,
Chris
10tweaker

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Registered: 12/01/06
Posts: 579
 #6 
Are you sure about Fish Canyon?  I was Googleing until my eyes were popping too and the area around Spanish Canyon looks similar to the site picture in the NTSB report.  They specifically mention the very steep slopes of the canyon.  If you look at a topo of Spanish Canyon, going from west to east from the developement area, there is a draw on the north side of the canyon that looks pretty close to the crash pic.  Just an alternate idea for Fish Canyon--though they share VERY similar terrain features from what I can see on maps.  Terraserver has some fairly decent shots and Google has good ones too, but Google has better contrasting pictures--makes it easier to pic out terrain features.

Best of luck...
Jim

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10tweaker

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Registered: 12/01/06
Posts: 579
 #7 
I'm gonna try to post the only picture I can find of this airliner.  It is grainy, but gives an indication of the terrain it is in.

Jim

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Click image for larger version - Name: flt_706.jpg, Views: 486, Size: 45.38 KB  Click image for larger version - Name: flt_706_2.jpg, Views: 463, Size: 43.24 KB 

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Mtflyer

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Registered: 11/29/06
Posts: 720
 #8 

I been thinking about trying this one for a few years. I live in Pasadena and the site is only about 10 miles away. Done a lot of research on it but couldn't figure out which canyon or canyons the wreckage is in. It would be hard to just go and look around, the brush is thick up there. I was able to find a photo of N9345. 

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Mtflyer

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Registered: 11/29/06
Posts: 720
 #9 

Looking through the stuff that I collected on this accident, found photos of N9344 and N9346, N9345's sister ships. After the accident, the airline painted the planes yellow to improve visibility in hopes of preventing another mid-air.

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Click image for larger version - Name: DC-9s.jpg, Views: 91, Size: 165.21 KB 

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canyonair

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Registered: 11/29/06
Posts: 321
 #10 

This is a crash site that you probably will never find unless you were there when it happened in 1971 or know the precise site coordinates. The NTSB final report was poorly written and does not really detail the impact locations or how the DC-9 broke apart during the collision. The collision impact with the F-4 caused about 30 feet of the DC-9 forward section to separate and fall away into another canyon about a mile from the aft section. The DC-9 and F-4 did not actually impact into Fish Canyon, but side canyons on the eastern slopes of Mt. Bliss. Access to the DC-9 main impact is gained through a closed and locked U.S. Forest Service gate and 4x4 road (Access can be gained through the USFS but is difficult in summer due to the fire dangers). Still quite a bit of wreckage at the site, but some was salvaged shortly after the NTSB investigation. You can still find passenger seats, main wheels/gears, and engine nacelles at the site. The tail section of the DC-9 is located in a side canyon about a half mile south of the main impact site (it was dropped there after a unsuccessful attempt to Helo it out). The site was located from the air in the early 90's and I made some tough solo and group hikes in there. Very steep slopes at about 60+ degrees, lots of poison oak, rattlesnakes, cougars and mountain lions. Never been to the F-4 site, but have an idea where it is based on the positive location of the DC-9 impact location.  We wrote about it in the book Wreckchasing 2 (if you can find a copy). It's a pretty interesting site that's a challenge to get to and rarely visited due to its location. Sorry I don't post coordinates in an attempt to protect these sites from non members, but you can contact me. Hope this helps.


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JR

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Registered: 11/29/06
Posts: 254
 #11 
You will not find the engines.  I was there when they were recovered in August, 1971 - helicopters sling loaded them out from the crash site along with other parts. 

I agree that the site is very difficult to get into.  In addition, the quarry located at the mouth of Fish Canyon has started to strip away the western wall of the canyon near where the lower wreckage was located.  
glenn228

Registered: 09/14/07
Posts: 1
 #12 
Interesting thread.  I saw (portions of) this accident when I was a boy living in Monrovia.  I was out in our front yard on Oakglade Dr. when I heard a large noise, like a sonic boom.  Stepped out from behind a tree to see a mass of flames disappear behind a hill just east of us and then watched the rear-seat of the Phantom's parachute descend.

With Google Earth I thought I may be able to spot the tail section.  I had heard it was visible from the air.

I now live in Dallas, so I'm not sure I'll ever get the chance to make it to the crash site (plenty of experience with the San Gabriel's underbrush!).  Any specific coordinates where I could spot something would be much appreciated.  Things like this stay with you.

On an unrelated topic, my uncle was killed in a private plane accident in the mountains near Flagstaff, AZ in 1985.  Not sure if they removed the wreckage or if anything remains.  Any info on that would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Glenn
Brad

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Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 251
 #13 
Found some information on the NTSB site that has Dale Holland crashing North of Flagstaff on March 19, 1985. Is that the correct loss?
Brad Gray
TRider

Registered: 01/05/08
Posts: 1
 #14 
Hi all,

My first post on this board.

As an L.A. County employee at the time I was personally involved in the rescue effort for this air disaster. I was called to respond to the Fish Canyon area at Bradbury park immediately after the crash. I stayed for many days, camping out, while the bodies were being collected. I cannot relate the emotional intensity of this rescue, later turned to recovery. I do have photos and human interest stories relataing to this tremendous disaster. If anyone is interested in more information let me know.

T




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canyonair

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Registered: 11/29/06
Posts: 321
 #15 
Hello Mr. T:

Welcome to the board. I would be very interested to see your photos and hear your account of this accident. Its hard to imagine responding to a rescue call such as the AirWest disaster. You can read and write about these mass disasters, but to see it first hand at the moment would be unreal.

This was an accident that I researched and crash site that I located about 10 years ago. Its still a pretty tough site to visit with steep terrain, rattlesnakes and of course the dreaded poison oak. Since you were there in 1971, Id like to know how the wreckage was distributed. The NTSB report never made it clear, but it appears that about 30 feet of the forward fuselage of the DC-9 separated after the impact with the F4. I would like to know if that is the case. Also, I was never able to locate the impact site of the F4 and maybe you can help me there as well.

Sincerely,
Mike McComb
canyonair@gmail.com

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