Fairbanks, AK Canadian Plane Crashes, Jan 1989
CANADIAN C-130 CRASH KILLS EIGHT.
Fairbanks, Alaska (AP) -- A C-130 crashed into a snowbank and split in two during a landing in a thick, icy fog, killing eight Canadian soldiers heading to a major U.S.-Canadian military exercise, officials said.
The Canadian Hercules C-130 was carrying eight crewmen and 10 special service paratroopers from Edmonton, Alberta, when it crashed just short of the runway at Fort Wainwright's airfield, said U.S. Army Capt. Jim Rodgers.
"The weather was quite bad," said Rodgers. At the time of the crash, he said, a thick, icy fog blanketed the runway and the temperature registered around 60 degrees below zero.
Six of the troops aboard were pronounced dead on arrival at Bassett Army Community Hospital on the base and two others died while receiving treatment at the hospital, Army Maj. Sherrel Mock said.
Three soldiers were in critical condition, one was listed as stable, and the remaining six had minor injuries but were being held for observation, Mock said.
After the crash, Mock said, Canadian officials canceled their forces' participation in the exercise Brim Frost '89, and recalled remaining Canadian aircraft and servicemen.
Investigators, including explosives experts, examined the wreckage overnight, Mock said. The plane's cargo included training ammunition.
The four-engine Lockheed Corp. turbo-prop aircraft, one of the longest-running planes in continuous production, generally is not designed for the cold weather, said H. David Crowther, vice president of corporate communications in Catabasas, Calif.
U.S. and Canadian investigators had not determined whether weather caused the crash, Mock said.
"We've been landing aircraft for the past two weeks in the same conditions," said Mock. "The runway, as far as I know, was not icy."
The troop transport plane's last contact with the control tower was at 6:47 p.m. (10:47 p.m. EST).
There were no distress calls from the plane before it crashed a few minutes later, Mock said.
The plane split in two after the crash and there was no evidence of fire, Rodgers said.
It was the second of three Canadian planes heading to the exercises Sunday. The first landed safely at Wainwright; the third was diverted to Fairbank's civilian airport.
The plane took off from Edmonton's Namao Base, said Luigi Rossetto, a Canadian Forces spokesman.
The soldiers belonged to Force Mobile Command and were part of a 500-man paratroop force that was to support the 1st Brigade, 6th Infantry Division (Light), in a major land battle that is the centerpiece of the Brim Frost ground exercises near Fairbanks.
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