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Fairlane66

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Posts: 181
 #1 
I was doing some internet sleuthing and came across information about this wreck that took the lives of 66 military and civilian personnel.  US NAVY NATS flight aircraft# 131612, an R6D1 (DC 6) type, was en route to Travis AFB when, due to radio failure, the PIC decided to return to Hickam AFB.  The pilot made a comm-out approach from the west to Hickham AFB, Hawaii at 0216 AM in the morning. Crossing over the Lualualie Naval Magazine at a height of 600 AGL, the aircraft impacted a ridge just outside the magazine, but not before the pilot attempted aggressive ground-avoidance maneuvers. No one survived the crash.

I believe Lualualie Naval Magazine is now called Naval Magazine Pearl Harbor.  If my Google Earth search is accurate, the area around the magazine is quite built up and I couldn't find any distinctly high terrain nearby.  I was wondering if anyone has been to the site or if it even still exists?

Of note, an Army Private from my Pennsylvania hometown was heading home on emergency leave to see his mother, who was dying of cancer.  Ironically, she perished just a few hours after her son, never knowing he was killed in this crash near Pearl Harbor.
I hope someone can provide more details and/or especially pics of the site in its present state.
phixer

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 #2 
I don't know if this will help much but if I remember correctly there is a ridge to the south of the main base area and at times the remaining debris field can reflect sunlight indicating the location or at least it did back in the late sixties.  When my dad was stationed there we use to go to the open house days at the various bases  and we took a bus tour at Lualualie where this was pointed out to us.  My dad mentioned that he knew some of the Marine personnel on board.  This was the first wreck that fascinated me while at the same time the thought of all those people perishing up there horrified me.  I also remember thinking how would someone get up on that cliff to recover the remains.
I'am sure that Dave will have a lot more to add.


  
DaveTrojan

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 #3 
I know all about this one. I've been to the crash site as recently as 2015. I have the complete accident report. I've interviewed people involved. There is a lot to say about it. Too much to post here now.
I will say that most of the aircraft wreckage and a lot of personal items are still at the crash site.

The plane carried soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines from 28 separate states. A family group of three -- a sailor, his wife and daughter -- were among the victims.
The 57 passengers aboard included 17 Air Force, four Navy, 12 Marine and 22 Army personnel and a civilian woman and her baby daughter.

At the time, it was the worst crash involving any variant of the Douglas DC-6 airliner the second-worst aviation accident in U.S. history, and one of the worst air accidents anywhere in history, and it equaled the 6 October United Airlines Flight 409 crash as the deadliest air accident of 1955. It remains the worst air disaster in the history of Hawaii and the deadliest accident involving a heavier than air aircraft in the history of United States Naval Aviation. 

I need to complete the story I was writing about this one. I just kept getting sidetracked because there is more to this one than usual.  I also informed JPAP, now called the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) about what is still there. More needs to be done about this site.  I'm looking for photos of the victims, photo of specific aircraft R6D #131612, crash site photos.  

The general location is just past Nanakuli on the right side of Lualualei access road before 61st street. crash site is about 1000 feet above sea level on the side of a mountain. Its a hard climb all the way. Access is very limited, very dangerous and very difficult. One of the hardest sites I ever visited.
Here is one photo from the crash site that shows a wing section with Lualualei Naval Ammunition Magazine in the background. This photo will give you an idea about where it is. 
You can email me with specific questions if you want. 
DaveT

DSCN1052.JPG  

 






Fairlane66

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Posts: 181
 #4 
Thanks for the quick reply, Dave.  I look forward to reading your article about this crash when you get it completed.

As I said, one of the victims was from my hometown.  I can see if any of the surviving relatives have a picture they'd like to share.

I have relatives on the island.  We plan to visit sometime in 2018, so a hike to the site might prove to be an interesting challenge.  Must one have military credentials to gain access to the site or is it open to the public?  I have retired military ID and a government civilian CAC.

From what you've said, I take it the 1955 clean up wasn't too thorough....pretty standard for the timeframe.  One would think DPAA could use that site to train newly arrived personnel without expending too much in the way of time or resources.

Again, thanks for the quick reply.  Very interesting crash with a lasting legacy.

DaveTrojan

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 #5 
 I did talk to DPAA about using the site for training. The accessibility is an issue. Great site, but very hard to get to.  You r good to go with your ID.
Please contact me when you go to HI, I may join you and or give you info about several sites to visit.
ALOHA
 
phixer

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 #6 
I too will be looking forward to your article about this crash Dave.  It's a hike that I've always wanted to do and a crash that I've always  thought about over the years I guess maybe because it was the first site that I was ever really aware of.  The only other site on Hawaii I knew of when I was stationed there was near the old pali road, at the time there was still a radial engine visible in the brush.
Dawn_W

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 #7 
I have been doing some intense genealogy. As I have found some of the people on my family tree, I fell upon this crash. As it has turned out, I have a relative who perished in this crash. A great-great uncle's son.  Anyway, I saw that you have a lot of information I have not come across, but was able to locate just from the information you put up here DaveTrojan.
Would love to read anything you have written on this if you have published it.
Here is my cousin's name if you wanted more information: Sgt Robert Lee Thompson, US Army.

Dawn
barbgaul

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 #8 
My husband and I will be traveling to Hawaii in March of 2019.  We are interested in visiting this site (although it appears difficult) or a memorial as my husbands father was killed in this crash.  Any information will be appreciated! 
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