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Fairbanks, AK Canadian Plane Crashes, Jan 1989

Fairbanks AK  type of plane that crashed.jpg


Fairbanks, Alaska (AP) -- A C-130 crashed into a snowbank and split in two during a landing in a thick, icy fog, killing eight Canadian soldiers heading to a major U.S.-Canadian military exercise, officials said.
The Canadian Hercules C-130 was carrying eight crewmen and 10 special service paratroopers from Edmonton, Alberta, when it crashed just short of the runway at Fort Wainwright's airfield, said U.S. Army Capt. Jim Rodgers.
"The weather was quite bad," said Rodgers. At the time of the crash, he said, a thick, icy fog blanketed the runway and the temperature registered around 60 degrees below zero.
Six of the troops aboard were pronounced dead on arrival at Bassett Army Community Hospital on the base and two others died while receiving treatment at the hospital, Army Maj. Sherrel Mock said.
Three soldiers were in critical condition, one was listed as stable, and the remaining six had minor injuries but were being held for observation, Mock said.
After the crash, Mock said, Canadian officials canceled their forces' participation in the exercise Brim Frost '89, and recalled remaining Canadian aircraft and servicemen.
Investigators, including explosives experts, examined the wreckage overnight, Mock said. The plane's cargo included training ammunition.
The four-engine Lockheed Corp. turbo-prop aircraft, one of the longest-running planes in continuous production, generally is not designed for the cold weather, said H. David Crowther, vice president of corporate communications in Catabasas, Calif.
U.S. and Canadian investigators had not determined whether weather caused the crash, Mock said.
"We've been landing aircraft for the past two weeks in the same conditions," said Mock. "The runway, as far as I know, was not icy."
The troop transport plane's last contact with the control tower was at 6:47 p.m. (10:47 p.m. EST).
There were no distress calls from the plane before it crashed a few minutes later, Mock said.
The plane split in two after the crash and there was no evidence of fire, Rodgers said.
It was the second of three Canadian planes heading to the exercises Sunday. The first landed safely at Wainwright; the third was diverted to Fairbank's civilian airport.
The plane took off from Edmonton's Namao Base, said Luigi Rossetto, a Canadian Forces spokesman.
The soldiers belonged to Force Mobile Command and were part of a 500-man paratroop force that was to support the 1st Brigade, 6th Infantry Division (Light), in a major land battle that is the centerpiece of the Brim Frost ground exercises near Fairbanks.

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plane crash

My dad just told me about this today. We were stationed at Ft Richardson AK and he was at this exercise. He said the temp was 60 below with windchill over -100. He was out with his unit and made the decision to head back to base due to the extreme cold. He drove the one remaining transport back with the other members of his unit crammed in the back. 5 of the tires blew out due to cracking from the cold before they made it to base. The plane crashed right in front of them as they were coming up on the airfield and they were the first on scene. They made sure the survivors were taken care of while emergency crews were in route and began the task of recovering the bodies of those who were killed. He ended up receiving a medal for saving 17 lives that day, 9 from the plane and the 8 troops in his unit because if he had not made the decision to turn back they would almost certainly have perished in the cold.

I was there in 1989 when this

I was there in 1989 when this flight happen, my unit was across the airfield. I was one of the soldiers that help with this crash. I will never forget and I still have dreams about crashing in a plane. Over 26 years later and I'm still have nightmares of flying.

Master Cpl. John MacKinnon is

Master Cpl. John MacKinnon is my Uncle. I was 9 1/2 when he died. He left behind his 1yr old and 4 yr old daughters.
I just remember him through pictures now.

BrimFrost 89 C-130 Accident

Hi Bud - I was stationed at Elmendorf AFB and took part in BrimFrost 1989. I was an US Air Force Cardiopulmonary Technician and Respiratory Therapist, in addition, we were trained as Critical Care Air Transport Teams...basically we were a 3 person air deployable ICU. My duties were airway support and placing and maintaining patients on mechanical ventilators who could no longer breathe on their own. I remember this crash very well and yes it was cold! My team (a flight surgeon, a RN and myself) was activated 2 hours after the accident to fly from Anchorage to Fairbanks to transport two very critically ill CAF personnel injured in the accident. I'm not sure but I believe it was the pilot and co-pilot of the C-130. Ironically, the only aircraft we could configure for the mission was an USAF C-130. We fully expected that neither patient would survive the flight. Both did survive to be transported to Providence Hospital Anchorage.
I never heard back if they recovered from their injuries or survived the ordeal. Since you were there I was wondering if you had any info on survivors or aircrew. Sorry for the teammates you lost that terrible day and thank you for honoring their sacrifice and memory.

David T. Graham, USAF (Ret.) E-7

I was there!

I was part of the Canadian Airborne Regiment's landing party that day. Three aircraft were in bound. The first aircraft landed without incident. The second crashed. The third landed without incident.

I remember our fallen everyday since!

For all, US rescue staff were fact, the entire base came to support the life-saving efforts that night. Despite the extreme...and I mean EXTREME COLD, they came from all over to donate blood and help recover survivors off the crash site. Medical personnel on the airfield performed herculean feats saving lives and working, especially hard, to save McGinnis.

I lost two of my men that night...MBdr Don Smith and Cpl Lee Wright. It's been tough ever since.

May they all rest in peace.



Canadian c130crash ft. Rich. Ak.

I responded to this call worked 45hrs. On scene . Maned incident command on site.

unidentified soldier

Cpl Paul Steven McGinnis was the unidentified soldier age 24 yrs when this tragedy happened. I am his older brother Rick, this is the first time i've came across this post.

article | by Dr. Radut