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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 9946
Last updated: 15 May 2019
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Date:08-MAR-1966
Time:8:04 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic PA32 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Piper PA-32-260
Owner/operator:Bassett Company Flying Services
Registration: N3296W
C/n / msn: 32-129
Fatalities:Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Santa Cruz Islands, California -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Nature:Domestic Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Santa Paula, California
Destination airport:Christie Ranch, Santa Cruz Islands, California
Narrative:
Written off (destroyed) 8/3/66 when crashed due to a CFIT (Controlled Flight Into Terrain) on rising ground in the Santa Cruz Islands, off the coast of California (at approximate co ordinates 34.03 N, 119.9 W). According to the following contemporary report (see link #5):

"Seven persons, including two Santa Barbarans, were killed in crashes of two private planes on Santa Cruz Island yesterday morning. The victims were identified as Ted Shatt and Gordon Ridge, Santa Barbara hunting guides; Wallace Bassett and R. L. Wallace, Santa Paula pilots, and Jack L. Wheeler, Dr. John C. Gilbert and Claude G. Casey, all of Las Vegas.

A third plane, piloted by John Grentzer of Camarillo, deposited its passengers on the island and returned safely to the mainland. Authorities reported that the three planes had been chartered to take the Las Vegas party to the island to hunt wild boar and sheep. Bassett, a veteran pilot and owner of the Bassett Flying Service in Santa Paula, took off from Santa Paula at about 7:30 A.M. on the 20-minute flight to the island.

He had delayed his takeoff an hour because of bad weather. He radioed the federal aviation agency tower at Municipal Airport here at 8 A.M. that he had found a hole in the fog and that he was going in for a landing The crash must have occurred minutes later, authorities said.

The FAA said that Bassett had not filed a flight plan with it. The three hunters from Las Vegas and the two Santa Barbarans were aboard his plane. Neither Wallace nor Grentzer had any idea what had happened to the Bassett plane as they took off from Santa Paula between 8:20 and 8:25. Wallace deposited his passengers and crashed on a hill on the return trip. He was alone when it crashed.

On the island today and awaiting boat passage back were the hunters flown in by Wallace and Grentzer. They are Merle Richards, Dan Roscoe, Frank Koviah, Gary McPherson, and Mr. and Mrs. L. R. Scott, all of Las Vegas. The two guides and the hunters were in a party sponsored by Rick Lagomarsino, younger brother of State Senator Robert Lagomarsino, and Bill Huffman of Ventura.

On his return to Santa Paula, Grentzer became concerned over what had happened to the other two planes. He flew back to the island with the younger Lagomarsino aboard, and the latter spotted the wreckage of the Bassett plane. Grentzer notified the Coast Guard by radio, and two helicopters, two cutters and a navy amphibian responded. The bodies were taken to the naval base at Point Mugu, officials said.

The searchers were guided to the scene of the Wallace crash by a ranch hand. Santa Cruz Island, about 25 miles offshore, has an area of 60,000 square miles [sic]. It is the largest in the channel chain. It is privately owned and used primarily for grazing cattle, but is periodically leased for hunting. Bassett was described as an experienced pilot having flown to the islands countless times during the past quarter century. He is said to have had a healthy respect for the quick-forming fog and gusty winds that make flying there difficult at times.

Sheriff-Coroner James W. Webster said that he turned investigation of the crashes over to civil aeronautics board officials. His office and that of the Ventura county coroner worked together in the identification and disposition of the bodies. Officials of the Ventura county coroner's office, sheriff's department and the FAA were en route to the island by boat today. Also in the party were Lagomarsino and Dr. Carey Q. Stanton, a representative of the Santa Cruz Island Company, owner of a major part of the island.

Reports from the island indicated that neither of the crashed planes burned. One body was reported thrown clear of the wreckage. The others all badly mangled were inside the the planes. Lagomarsino said that the Bassett plane did not appear from the air to be demolished, and he thought at first that the passengers only had been injured. The bodies of Bassett and Wallace were at Santa Paula mortuaries, and the Santa Barbarans' and the Las Vegas hunters were at mortuaries in Oxnard.

Ridge's address was listed as 1975 Old San Marcos Road, and Shatt's address was unknown. Ridge reportedly was a mechanic working in Camarillo."

Recovery date of wreckage 3/8/66.Terrain up slope at crash site is about 45-degrees.

Sources:

1. NTSB Identification: LAX66A0067 at https://www.ntsb.gov/_layouts/ntsb.aviation/brief.aspx?ev_id=71790&key=0
2. FAA: http://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquiry/NNum_Results.aspx?omni=Home-N-Number&nNumberTxt=3296W
3. http://planecrashmap.com/plane/ca/N3296W/
4. http://www.planecrashinfo.com/1966/1966-20.htm
5. http://www.islapedia.com/index.php?title=BASSETT,_Wallace_Dean


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
25-Feb-2008 12:00 ASN archive Added
01-Oct-2017 19:37 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Cn, Operator, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
01-Oct-2017 19:38 Dr. John Smith Updated [Aircraft type]

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