Skip to Content

Gander, NF Charter Jet Crashes, Dec 1985

Aircraft Wreckage Crash Memorial Gander Lake memorial Site.jpg Gander Lake memorial Site monument.jpg Gander Lake type of plane that crashed.jpg

CRASH KILLS SERVICEMEN -- 258 DEAD.

Gander, Newfoundland (AP) -- A DC-8 charter carrying U.S. servicemen from the Middle East in time for Christmas crashed in flames todayon takeoff at Gander International Airport, killing all 258 people aboard officials and witnesses said.
MAJ. KENNETH MILLER of Canadian Search and Rescue reported in a telephone interview with The Associated Press from Halifax, Nova Scotia, that 250 passengers and eight crewmembers were killed in the crash.
"All we know is that there were no survivors," MILLER told the Canadian Press. He said his information came from the Gander control center.
The plane was carrying members of the 101st Airborne Division assigned to the Sinai peacekeeping force since July back to Fort Campbell, Ky., where the unite is headquartered, the Pentagon said.
They were some of 750 to 800 soldiers in the force and were returning home on a rotational basis, according to Maj. LARRY ICENOGLE, a Pentagon spokesman. He said a first group of 250 soldiers arrived at Fort Campbell on Dec. 5. The plane that crashed was carrying the second group.
CBC radio said its radio correspondent at the scene, ED PIKE, quoted witnesses as saying the plane exploded, lighting up the sky.
"We were driving to work .. when we saw this big explosion .. kind of like a big explosion right at the top of the trees ... and it died down very quickly. In a matter of seconds, it was gone," said ANN HURLEY, a nearby resident.
Canadian Transport Minister DON MAZANKOWSKI said the plane got no higher than 1,000 feet into the air before crashing and confirmed reports from the scene that there were no survivors.
A Pentagon source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he knew of no explosion. "We have no reason to suspect sabotage. We know only that this plane crashed and burned. The matter is being investigated by civilian authorities."
The airport was overcast with light snow and light winds at the time of the crash, according to the aviation weather report. There had been light, freezing drizzle a few hours earlier.
DAVID BRIDGES, spokesman for the Rome-based Multinational Force and Observers, said the plane had flown from Cairo to Cologne, West Germany, where it refueled, to Gander for a second refueling.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman VEDDER STEED in Atlanta, Ga., said the plane belonged to Arrow Air, a Miami-based charter firm.

Continued of Page 2.

Comments

I was only 8 Years old in

I was only 8 Years old in 1985, but one of my Dad's best and closest Friends was on that Flight and lost His Life... SSG THOMAS E. DAVIS Woodbury, NJ... I have never met you, Sir, but you were always a Part of my Life. The Pictures of you, the Condolence Letter from (Ex) President Ronald Reagan to your Parents, which they had send to my Dad... the Stories about you and the Fun you've had in Berlin/Germany... You have always been a Part in our Family and You will always be... NEVER BE FORGOTTEN... R.I.P SSG THOMAS E.DAVIS

my brother and his harley

I MISS MY BROTHER EVERY DAY AND WHEN X-MAS COMES AROUND IT IS HARD TO BE HAPPY FOR THE HOLIDAY BUT WE TRY. IT WAS HARTBREAKING TO SAY THE LEAST. I AM A FORMER MARINE THAT SERVED IN VIETNAM AND THE YOUNGER OF MY BROTHER AND I 3 YEARS APART. WELL WHEN I COME HOME FOR GOOD HE WANTED TO JOIN THE NAVY BUT WAS NOT ALLOWED TO. DO TO HIS JAW DEFORMITY HOWEVER SLIGHT HE HAD IT FIXED AND JOINED THE ARMY AS A TROOPER W/THE 101st AIRBORNE DIV. HIS LIFE DREAM AND THEN THIS HAPPENED I MISS HIM AND WOULD JUST LIKE MY GOV. TO STAND UP LIKE A MAN AND TELL THE AMERICAN PUBLIC THE TRUTH IS IT REALY THAT HARD.AND MAKE IT PUBLIC SO ALL CAN BE PROUD OF ALL THESE MEN AND WOMEN THAT DIED IN VAIN. I THINK OLIVER NORTH CAN ANSWER ALOT OF QUESTIONS

my dad

my dad vickie seth perry was killed in the crash as well and i to think that there was a cover-up. if you find out any information about this please contact me. i just need some answers about what happen to my dad from what i do know about this just dose'nt set well with me. if you can please contact me at mrwainwright81@yahoo.com
thank you

Sorry for all the losses

Where to begin, I look at this page often but never muster up something to say. I'm becoming more interested in American Pride and the military however I lost someone I never got to meet, my uncle Kevin G. Ever since I can remember I have heard heroic stories about him. He loved and served America for years (like Mr. Puntanen in the middle east/egypt). For the government to show absolutely no respect to those men and family members disgusts me. Many people forgot about that day-the government closed the file pretty quickly and never looked back. But I'm the one that did not have this role model to look up to/visit all over the world. I'm the one that has to hear my mom say Kevin's looking down on us every time she sees a rainbow. Like what you said Ms. Raimo, those men were all amazing people, loyal/outstanding citizens but more important someones brother, uncle, father, mother-whatever the case was. And If your going to die for something (America) then they (America) should give them the respect they deserve. But I can't imagine being there the day they told my family that Kevin was dead and I have so much sorrow towards yours as well. Yes, if you google and explore you can find the truth about the attack but the government should have claimed it. I'm not sure whos call it was or what department or groups of people who came up with the bullshit-I'm a true believer in karma and wish them luck. I am 20 years old and I just watched "Day and Knight" (with tom cruise and the girl from charlies angle) well Tom Cruise's character is forced to fake his death and now he has no identity, just a machine in the government. The family never knows the truth....It is sad to say ever since then I am convinced that the government is not this f***** up (pardon my language) and my uncle just gave everything up to take on a bigger role in the middle east. Even if that's not the case we will all be together one day.

For a second I thought maybe my mother had posted this, I had to check the name again and again. My mother still stays in contact with family members that lost loved ones as well.

Kevin Michael VanKirk

RIP Uncle Kevin

Cover UP

One of my friends from basic training, Bobby Lee Coleman, was killed in this event. I was in the 3/327th at the time. I'm pretty sure that there was some type of cover up going on. I wish there was some way to expose it. If anyone has any information, let me know. Thanks.

Russell Roberts

Gander Crash 12 Dec 1985

I was in Dco 2/327th Inf Rgt, from 1981 to 1986. I had two very good and close friends that lost their lives on that saddened day. One was Capt Manion, and the other was a close friend from the 801st maintenance Co. SP4 Fitch. Both are always remembered. It saddens me, that with all that, that had happened, the depression I suffered, along with the loss of my brother, the Army felt it their duty to discharge me from the service, deemed UNFIT to serve, when I was one of the top NCO's around. The Army says that they care for their own, but when something like this happens and it shocks the hell out of you, they turn their backs on you. Im a firm believer in what goes around will come around, and though its 25 years later, it will be a day for pay back for what had happened. For all the Soliders that lost their lives serving on that sad day, my heart is with you, always. For thoese of them responsible, there will be a time and place, Heaven or Hell.... they already reserved thier places... God Bless.

Gone but not forgotten...at least not by me.

I lost 3 friends on the Gander flight; Abe Karadsheh, Kevin Gantzer, and Peter Schrempf. To this day I still think about them and about what happened. I was in the same unit as they were, and it is very possible that had things not worked out the way they did, I could very easily have been on that flight. It is only by the grace of God that I was not. I miss all three very much even though there were times when one or two of them and I didn't get along so well, I would have proudly shared a foxhole with anyone of them. I hope their families know how much I treasured knowing and working with them. What GOOD men they were and how tragic and painful their loss is to me in my life. I can only imagine how hard it has been for them. I pray that we will all meet again in that great by and by. God Bless them all!

My cousin Gary Padgett took

My cousin Gary Padgett took the place of someone, I was just wondering? He wanted to get home as soon as possible. He ask to change flights. After 25 years this still haunts me and his relatives, who so close to him.

My brother was on that plane

My brother Spec 4 Darnell Andrews was killed on that plane. He would have been 46 this year on October 5. My mother is so at a loss each year around this time. It is so hard to see her go through the pain that her son will never come home to say Hey Mom what's for dinner? Or tell me that he would handle it. Its hard to see his daughter who is exactly like him which she never had the opportunity to be held by for this happen 3 months after her birth. We couldn't even see if face, they had to identify him through dental records. I am sorry I never had closure for he was my best friend.

Gander

Thank you for this article. My brother was on this plane. He was part of the crew that landed in Egypt to relieve the crew that did not survive. He would write to me about that flight being the scariest thing he had ever been through. (We are talking about a soldier with jungle survival training). To this day he still can't talk about it. I remember one letter saying that the plane was shaking so bad that bolts were falling out of the ceiling.



article | by Dr. Radut