Anchorage, AK Airliner Crashes On Take-Off, Nov 1970
VIETNAM-BOUND AIRLINER CRASHES.
AT LEAST 46 DEAD.
Anchorage, Alaska (AP) -- The pilot of a chartered jetliner ferrying servicemen to Vietnam apparently was trying to halt his takeoff when the DC8 nosed back onto the icy runway, was jolted by explosions, then crashed and burned, investigators said Saturday.
The Alaskan Command said 46 of the 229 persons aboard were killed in the crash, which occurred while the plane was taking off in darkness and a freezing drizzle from the Anchorage airport.
LARRY CAMPBELL, National Transportation Safety Board -- NTSB -- spokesman in Anchorage, said a series of explosions "followed an attempted abort" as the fuel-laden aircraft strained to become airborne. It was piiloted by WILLIAM G. REID of Napa, Calif.
Witnesses said the plane slithered over the slippery runway, up a small mound and across a depression in the earth, cracking into pieces as it came to rest nearly three-quarters of a mile from the runway's end.
Survivors and witnesses described a variety of small explosions they said occurred as the plane's nost lifted, then turned downward. At least two explosions of larger size erupted a few minutes after the stricken plane skidded to a stop, one witness said.
Another said a blast hurled a ball of fire skyward. Others told of seeing bluish flames, of fire in an engine on the plane's right side prior to the crash, and of what could have been a pressure stall or backfire.
Federal and local authorities, as well as spokesmen for Capitol Internatinal Airways which owned the $12-million plane and chartered it to the military, generally declined comment as to possible cause of the crash or other related matters.
"We won't be able to release any technical data until the NTSB completes its investigation," CECIL EDMONDS, Capitol vice president said in Wilmington, Del.
CAMPBELL declined to say why he believed the pilot was trying to abort the take off or what caused the action.
The plane left McChord Air Force Base at Tacoma, Wash., Friday stopping at Anchorage for refueling and a change of crew. It carried 219 passengers which military spokesmen said were military personnel and their dependents, including a number of children. It was headed for a stop in Yakota, Japan, en route to its Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, destination.
Military spokesmen said there were 174 known survivors among defense personnel and their dependents. The survivors included several children and more than 100 injured persons, the spokesmen said.
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