Honolulu, HI Navy Bomber Crash, Jan 1954



Honolulu, T. H., Jan. 22. (UP) -- A Navy Neptune bomber rammed the slopes of a 3,000 foot mountain last night while making a landing approach in "near perfect" weather, killing all eight crewmen.
A second crash followed less than an hour later when a Marine helicopter winging to the scene was caught in a downdraft and slammed into the rocky slopes near the fiercely burning two-engined bomber. The pilot and a Marine medical rescue crew of three escaped uninjured from the helicopter mishap.
The big Navy bomber, which normally carries a crew of 10, was en route to the United States from Japan when it crashed and burned 18 miles northwest of here behind famed Schofield Barracks.
First rescue teams to reach the scene reported the plane apparently rammed into the mountainside under full throttle, scattering fiery bits of debris over a half mile area.
The rescue team reported "no sign of survivors."
A check of the plane's manifest, Navy officials said, Revealed eight were aboard when it took off from Kwajalein.
Press photographers at the scene were prevented by Navy and Army police from taking pictures of the wreckage because of papers strewn abouot the area which military officials feared might be "secret."
Flames still shot skyward from the molten mass of twisted metal more than two hours after the crash, hindering examination of the wreckage.
Residents of the town of Wahiawa, some eight miles away, reported they could see flames.
The plane was in the last minutes of the Kwajalein - Honolulu leg of its homeward flight when it crashed. It had radioed the Barbers Point Air Station for landing instructions and was on its approach when the control tower lost contact.
Immediately three Marine helicopters were ordered aloft to search for the plane. When it was spotted, military and civilian fire-fighting equipment and ambulances were rushed to the area, but the mobile equipment bogged down short of the scene in dense undergrowth and mud produced by torrential rains earlier in the day.
Ground rescuers finally made it to the scene in half tracks.
The Navy was at a loss to explain the accident.

Nevada State Journal Reno 1954-01-23