Gambell, AK Airliner Crashes Into Hillside, Sep 1975



Anchorage (AP) -- Federal Investigators and Wien Air Alaska officials Monday were scrutinizing the remains of a Wien plane that slammed into the side of a hill on St. Lawrence Island over the weekend.
The crash of the twin-engine turbo prop just east of Gambell Saturday aftgernoon killed ten people, including the pilot, co-pilot and cargo loader, and injured 22 others.
National Transportation Safety Board officials flew to Alaska Sunday from Washington, D.C. There was no immediate word on the cause of the crash or the progress of the investigation.
Three of the injured were listed as critical at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage, while 16 others, including four Gambell children, were in "stable condition," a spokeswoman said. She said most of the patients were suffering from multiple fractures and internal injuries.
Two others, including Savoonga State Trooper GILBERT PELOWOOK who suffered a burned hand, were treated and released from a Nome hospital.
A spokesman at Elmendorf Air Force Base Hospital said stewardess D. D. BURGER was in an intensive care unit, but was in satisfactory condition.
The plane was approaching the Gambell airstrip on a weekly, one-hour flight from Nome when it crashed into the side of a 600-foot hill just east of the village, Wien officials said.
Most of the passengers were native Alaskans from Gambell, Savoonga and Nome.
A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman in Anchorage said the north-south airstrip is equipped with a non-directional heading beacon, owned and operated by Wien. The beacon directs planes to the airfield by throwing out a low frequency beacon in all directions.
The weather at the time of the crash was reported as rainy with light fog.
The village at the northwest tip of St. Lawrence Island about 60 miles from Siberia is located on a coastal plain in the shadow of the rocky bluff.
A medical team from Nome flew to the scene of the crash and the survivors were evacuated early Sunday morning to Anchorage aboard a C130 Coast Guard plane.
A member of the medical team said Monday the front end of the plane was demolished by fire. The fuselage did "more or less stay together," he said, and the wings were folded on top of the aircraft.
He said the trooper aboard the plane had pulled most of the survivors from the wreckage when residents of the village arrived. Gambell residents devised make-shift stretchers and had evacuated all but three of the injured by the time help arrived, he said.
"When I got to the crash site, it was extremely orderly," he said.
"The Gambell people had already given first aid to the injured. Everybody had already been splinted and were on the way down the hill," he said.
The crash site was less than half a mile from the village, he said, but rugged terrain forced the rescuers to take the injured about five miles by land, around the back side of a cliff face.
The survivors were ferried across a small lake and given emergency treatment at the village school, a Coast Guard crewman at the scene said.
Troopers in Anchorage identified the three crew members who died in the crash just east of Gambell as:
Pilot WILLIAM ARNDT, Anchorage.
ART OUTWATER, load master, of Nome.
Troopers identified other fatalities as:
GEORGE IMERGAIN, St. Lawrence Island.
FRANKLIN KIYUKLOOK, JR., infant, Savoonga.
FRED ANGLE, Gambell.

Fairbanks Daily News Miner Alaska 1975-09-02


Wien flt#99

Captain's name was William Arant