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Accident description
Last updated: 22 November 2017
Status:Final
Date:Saturday 19 January 1952
Time:01:38
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas C-54E-5-DO (DC-4)
Operator:Northwest Orient Airlines
Registration: N45342
C/n / msn: 27279
First flight: 1945
Total airframe hrs:18859
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney R-2000
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 33 / Occupants: 40
Total:Fatalities: 36 / Occupants: 43
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:1,6 km (1 mls) ESE off Sandspit Airport, BC (YZP) (   Canada)
Phase: Initial climb (ICL)
Nature:Domestic Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Anchorage-Elmendorf AFB, AK (EDF/PAED), United States of America
Destination airport:Tacoma-McChord AFB, WA (TCM/KTCM), United States of America
Flightnumber: 324
Narrative:
Flight 324, was a flight from Tokyo, Japan, to McChord AFB, via Shemya and Anchorage. It departed Elmendorf AFB at 21:11 for the IFR flight to McChord AFB. The flight climbed to the 10,000-foot assigned altitude and at 22:13, shortly after passing Middleton Island, requested permission to descend to 8,000 feet. ARTC cleared the flight to descend and the new cruising altitude was reached at 22:22. The trip was uneventful until opposite Sitka, Alaska, when the pilot reported, at 00:03, that no. 1 propeller had been feathered. The prop had been feathered due to a "broken" oil cooler and the pilot decided to divert to Sandspit. The flight was cleared to that point and proceeded without further incident on three engines. The aircraft touched down at a point about one-third down the runway. After a short roll, power was applied at about the mid-point of the strip and the aircraft took off, barely clearing a low fence and driftwood which was approximately two feet high at the end of the runway. The aircraft, at near stalling speed during the attempted climb-out, settled into the water, bounced, and came to rest 26 degrees to the left and approximately 4,500 feet from the end of the runway. All or nearly all of the passengers evacuated the aircraft, with no known serious injuries. However, air and water temperatures were near freezing; drowning and exposure accounted for 36 fatalities.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "A nose gear retraction difficulty in connection with an icing condition or a power loss, which made the aircraft incapable of maintaining flight."

Classification:
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Water

Sources:
» CAB File No. 1-0017


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Map
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 Anchorage-Elmendorf AFB, AK to Tacoma-McChord AFB, WA as the crow flies is 2322 km (1451 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

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Douglas DC-4

  • 1242+ built
  • 158th loss
  • 85th fatal accident
  • 19th worst accident (at the time)
  • 37th worst accident (currently)
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 Canada
  • 3rd worst accident (at the time)
  • 12th worst accident (currently)
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