Accident description
Last updated: 29 July 2014
Status:Final
Date:Tuesday 18 February 1969
Time:05:10
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC3 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas C-49J (DC-3)
Operator:Hawthorne Nevada Airlines
Registration: N15570
C/n / msn: 6320
First flight: 1943
Total airframe hrs:48274
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 32 / Occupants: 32
Total:Fatalities: 35 / Occupants: 35
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:20 km (12.5 mls) W of Lone Pine, CA (   United States of America) show on map
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Hawthorne Airport, NV (HTH), United States of America
Destination airport:Hollywood-Burbank Airport, CA (BUR/KBUR), United States of America
Flightnumber: 708
Narrative:
The DC-3 aircraft left Hawthorne (HTH) at 03:50 PST on a VFR flightplan for Burbank (BUR) and Long Beach (LGB). Last contact with the flight was at 04:06 when the crew contacted the Tonopah Flight Service Station, and requested that their flight plan be opened. At 05:10, some 20 km West of Lone Pine, the airplane impacted the face of a sheer cliff on the east slope of the Mount Whitney at an elevation of 11,770 feet m.s.l. The main body of the wreckage slid down the cliff and came to rest 500 feet back from the cliff.
An extensive ground and air search was launched after the aircraft was declared missing. Due to heavy snow accumulations on the ground, low clouds throughout the search period, and extremely hazardous terrain, the aircraft was not located until August 8, 1969.


PROBABLE CAUSE: "The deviation from the prescribed route of flight, as autorized in the company's FAA-approved operations specifications, resulting in the aircraft being operated under IFR weather conditions, in high mountainous terrain, in an area where there was a lack of radio navigation aids."

Classification:
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

Sources:

Official accident investigation report
investigating agency: National Transport Safety Bureau (NTSB) - USA
report status: Final
report number: NTSB/AAR-70-05
report released:04-FEB-1970
duration of investigation:351 days (11.7 months)
download report: Minerial County Airlines d.b.a. Hawthorne Nevada Airlines, DC-3, N15570, near Lone Pine, California, February 18, 1969. (NTSB/AAR-70-05)
cover

Follow-up / safety actions
Following the accident the FAA issued rulemaking with regards to crash locator beacon requirements.

Photos

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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 Hawthorne Airport, NV to Hollywood-Burbank Airport, CA as the crow flies is 480 km (300 miles).

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Douglas DC-3

  • 2570th loss
  • ca 13.000 built
  • 7th worst accident (at the time)
  • 12th worst accident (currently)
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 United States of America
  • 59th worst accident (at the time)
  • 97th worst accident (currently)
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