Narrative:After circling for 30 minutes, the pilot contacted Oakland Municipal Airport, reporting that he was on his approach to Alameda NAS. While flying in low overcast and drizzling rain, the Navy plane flew up a steep canyon, skimmed over one ridge and then slammed into Sunol Ridge at the 1300 feet level.
|Date:||Friday 17 February 1956|
Douglas R5D-2 (DC-4)
|Operator:||United States Navy|
|C/n / msn:|| 18331|
|First flight:|| 1944|
|Crew:||Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 5|
|Passengers:||Fatalities: 35 / Occupants: 35|
|Total:||Fatalities: 40 / Occupants: 40 |
|Airplane damage:|| Written off|
|Airplane fate:|| Written off (damaged beyond repair)|
|Location:||5,6 km (3.5 mls) N of Niles, CA (United States of America)
|Phase:|| Approach (APR)|
|Departure airport:||Santa Ana-El Toro MCAS, CA (NZJ/KNZJ), United States of America|
|Destination airport:||Alameda NAS, CA (NGZ), United States of America|
A subsequent Marine board of inquiry into the cause of the crash placed the blame on the flight crew’s deviation from the prescribed holding pattern, departure from the radio beacon, and making their descent in a unprescribed manner.
» Notable California Aviation Disasters
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.