ASN Aircraft accident Douglas DC-3A-191 NC16066 Point Reyes, CA
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Tuesday 29 November 1938
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC3 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas DC-3A-191
Operator:United Airlines
Registration: NC16066
MSN: 1906
First flight: 1937
Crew:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 4
Total:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 7
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:1,2 km (0.8 mls) off Point Reyes, CA (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Medford-Jackson County Airport, OR (MFR/KMFR), United States of America
Destination airport:Oakland Municipal Airport, CA (OAK/KOAK), United States of America
Flightnumber: UA6
A Douglas DC-3A passenger plane, operating as United Air Lines Trip 6, was involved in a ditching accident off Point Reyes, CA, USA. One pilot and one passenger were rescued. The other five occupants were killed.
Trip 6 was a scheduled service from Seattle, WA to San Diego, CA, with several intermediate stops. The airplane took off from Medford at 12:03 at night. En route from Medford to Oakland the crew failed to establish their precise position and ran out of fuel over sea. At 05:03 the Point Reyes lighthouse was sighted. The plane circled the lighthouse twice, dropping a flare each time. At 05:25 fuel was exhausted and the captain carried out a wheels-up ditching.
Passengers and crew immediately climbed on the top of the aircraft, through the emergency hatch in the pilot's cockpit. The aircraft rode the swells easily until the surf carried it shoreward, where it was severely battered and subsequently destroyed by the waves and rocks.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "Failure of the pilot to definitely establish the position of the aircraft through standard orientation procedures within a reasonable time after intersecting a leg of the Oakland radio range at 3:17 AM, and of company flight dispatchers, charged with the responsibilities of directing the operation of the trip, to properly safeguard the flight, resulting in forced landing of the aircraft at sea due to exhausted fuel supply."

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: CAB
Status: Investigation completed
Accident number: final report
Download report: Final report

Fuel exhaustion

» The Crash of United Air Lines Trip #6
» CAB Report


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This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Medford-Jackson County Airport, OR to Oakland Municipal Airport, CA as the crow flies is 517 km (323 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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