Another DC-3 crash site in the Yukon

A post a couple of days ago in one of the history groups I belong to was a query about a DC-3 crash that I hadn’t heard about. The thought was that it is in the Richardson Mountains along the Yukon’s Arctic Coast.

The query was prompted by this photo in the book “Flying the Yukon Bush” by Kit Cain – it can be downloaded for free at the author’s Web site (pdf, 5MB). The photo was shot in 1962.

'Flying the Yukon Bush' by Kit Cain
My initial search for a crash report came up empty. Once I looked in the right place with the right search terms, though, it only took me a few more minutes to find it. Here’s the article in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner of January 17, 1958.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner - January 17, 1958

To go further in finding information, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada says “To find the report of an investigation that began in 1990 or earlier, contact Library and Archives Canada.” Following that lead, I found the archival record information here, but the record itself isn’t online. However, I found a basic record of the crash at the Aviation Safety Network – it records the registration as N75391, a C-47D built in 1944 (construction number 26366), but other sites disagree with that construction number’s history.

If any of you researchers really have lots of time on your hands, that area is posted online at high resolution, and a DC-3 should show up well. Here’s the area where the crash is according to the newspaper report – click on it to open the hi-res map in a new window.

Map of approximate location of DC-3 crash


Another DC-3 crash site in the Yukon — 14 Comments

  1. *sigh*…Oh LAC….

    This is definitely interesting though. I will have to check this out for a bit when I get time in the next couple of days

  2. Dear Sir…to whom it may concern

    Interesting post concerning this DC-3 site.
    I would like to post a large size photo of the a/c on the DC-3 FB page..(I am the moderator)…are there any other pictures available..?
    hope to here from you in the near future
    with kind regards
    Michael prophet

  3. One summer flying into the Firth River strip, the pilot pointed out this DC-3 to me and gave me a lat and long of it. I was hoping to get some pictures of it on the return flight, but unfortunately the wreckage was obscured by clouds.

    Maybe Bob cameron’s book on Yukon aviation will have some photographs of it.

  4. It was my good friend Bob Heath who pointed it out to me. Bob really knew the area and probably knew the locations many if not most of the wrecks.

  5. Might be a bit challenging to find! Plenty of snow pockets remaining in the imagery, so it isn’t sticking out like a sore thumb. Key is that it will be on a “slope of the mountain about 50 feet below its summit”. Wish I could import the imagery into GE so I could place a grid overlay and check off sections as I move along.

    From other online sources:

    Circumstances: While cruising in bad weather conditions, the airplane hit the slope of a mountain shrouded in clouds and located in the region of Aklavik. The wreckage was spotted few hours later and all three crew members were injured and evacuated. The aircraft hit the slope of the mountain about 50 feet below its summit and was destroyed.

    Causes: It was determined that the crew failed to follow the route mentioned on the flight plan due to wrong information provided by the local NDB. It was reported that the NDB parameters were regularly considered as inaccurate due to the local topography and the presence of atmospheric turbulences in the area. The crew was not aware of the inaccuracy of the NDB, causing the aircraft to deviate from the prescribed route.

  6. I recently picked up the book titled “Triumph Over Turbulence” (written by the founder of Interior Airways, Jim Magoffin). I was hoping there would be more details about the DC-3 N75391 wreck and possibly more photos. He does mention the accident on P. 124 and includes a copy of the newspaper story reporting the accident at the time. He states” In a hair-raising brush with possible tragedy, the plane drifted a bit south of course and, in doing so, scraped the top of a snow-covered ridge. The plane came to a spectacular sliding stop that bent the props and put indentations on the skin of the planes’s belly.” Magoffin then goes on to say in the next paragraph on Page 125 “We were able to subsequently repair the DC-3 with much difficulty and put it back on the job.”
    In looking at the photo from the C. Cain book (reported to be from 1962….4 years after the crash)…it looks to me the air frame was badly damaged…the fuselage looks broken aft of the wings. It does not look like a plane wreck that could be easily fixed to fly again. Any thoughts on this?