Los Angeles, CA Commuter Helicopter Crashes, Aug 1968

Compton CALIF Helicopter that crashed 8-14-1968.jpg



All Los Angeles Airways commuter helicopters were grounded today while an investigation was conducted into the crash of one Wednesday which killed 21 persons in an effort to determine if mechanical failure or man-made sabotage was the cause.
Supervisor KENNETH HAHN, meantime, demanded the FBI be called into the case saying, "this could be a man-made accident as well as or instead of mechanical failure."
HAHN'S office said FBI agents visited the scene of the crash in Compton Wednesday night with the supervisor, but the FBI said today it lacked jurisdiction because Los Angeles Airways is a purely local line.
Meantime, the coroner's office worked to identify the bodies of the victims, who included the grandson of the president of the line, a recently retired San Francisco police captain, his wife, his daughter, and 8-year-old grand-daughter.
The twin-turbine Sikorsky S61L helicopter lost its tail rotor and plunged to earth in a Compton playground Wednesday morning in a crash remarkably similar to one that took 23 lives in Paramount last May.
In crashed in Pop Leuder's Park, Rosecrans Avenue and Bullis Road, about 50 feet away from a playground where children were playing. All aboard were killed either on impact or in the explosion and flames which followed.
It was the third worst commercial helicopter crash in the United States. The worst, involving a New York Airways helicopter in 1963, killed 33 passengers and three crewmen.
The crash of the Los Angeles Airways helicopter in May ranks as the second worst such disaster.
A spokesman for Sikorsky Aircraft reached by telephone in Stratford, Conn., declined specific comment on the crashes but said they were the first reported as a result of the loss of tail rotors in flight.
The spokesman said nearly 600 of the huge helicopters have been supplied the military since production began in 1960 and that 32 commercial models have been delivered.
Asked specifically if any crashes blamed on losses of tail rotors have been reported either by military or civilian users of the craft, he said "just those two out there."
Aboard the craft that crashed Wednesday were a crew of three and 18 passengers.

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Patricia Anne Meehan

Dear J. Jung:

Thank you for your kind words. My Aunt Trish was like a second mother to my sister and two brothers and her loss was a severe blow to our family. I have heard tales of what a special and innovative teacher she was.

Best regards,

Jim Meehan

The Meehan Family

Dear Tom: Thank you for your kind words and fond remembrances.

God Bless,

Jim Meehan

Helicopter Crash From August 14, 1968

Ms. Meehan (Patricia) was my 6th grade teacher in S.F. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman who taught us many subjects, including life lessons. I still own the ukelele my parents bought me so I could learn from Ms. Meehan in an after-school class, where she volunteered to teach us how to read chords and strum. I still think of her with great respect.

The Meehan family

I remember the Meehan family well. Mr. and Mrs. Meehan, my friend Terry, Pat and Jack. Terry and Pat attended my birthday party when I was six and I have a picture of the event. Mr. and Mrs. Meehan attended my Wedding Reception. The Meehans were a great family and helped many people in so many ways.

Each August I remember the tragic event that took the lives of my friends and neighbors. It is hard to believe even to this day. One day soon I would love to say hello to Terry. I have been trying to contact him for many years without luck.

Mr. (Captain) Meehan would take a group of the neighborhood kids out to the Police Academy on the weekends (in Golden Gate Park) where we got to play baseball, and use the gym equipment. I really enjoyed events like those. Mrs. Meehan helped us with Church events. The world needs more people like them.

Helicopter Crash from August 14, 1968

The Meehan family continues to mourn the tragic deaths of our beloved family members. Thank you for allowing this reprint of the Press-Telegram Long Beach article to be available via the internet.