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Alaska's first passenger fatalities in a commercial air crash

Arctic & Northern Aviation

    On September 20, 1933, Alaska's first passenger fatalities in a commercial air crash occurred in the crash of a Pacific Alaska Airways Fairchild 71, registration NC9765. The crash was at Livengood, a mining camp north of Fairbanks that had been founded during the winter of 1914-15. The crash took the lives of pilot George Edward "Ed" Young and his two passengers, Eric Nelson and Aldwyn David "Buck" Roberts.

    Pacific Alaska Airways had been started in June 1932 as a subsidiary of Pan American Airways by its founder, Juan Trippe. Initially they operated only Fairchild 71 aircraft but in 1933 three Consolidated Fleetsters were added.

    George Edward "Ed" Young was buried at the Clay Street Cemetery in Fairbanks, in the Masonic plot, SE Quarter #1657. Aldwyn David "Buck" Roberts was buried at the Sumner Cemetery in Sumner, Washington - his memorial can be seen here. We have not yet found the burial place of Eric Nelson.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
September 21, 1933

Salt Lake Telegram
September 21, 1933

    The estates of Eric Nelson and Aldwyn Roberts each sued Pacific Alaska Airways for $10,000 - the maximum allowable under Territorial law. In 1938, after a long and contentious legal fight, the airline paid the Nelson estate $10,000 and the Roberts estate $8,500.

The Alaska Miner
November 8, 1938