Concord, CA (near) Airliner Crashes East Of San Francisco, May 1964

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Pacific Flight 773 crash 5-7-64.jpg Pacific Flight 773 crash 5-7-64 2.jpg CALIF Flight 773 crashed plane 5-7-1964.jpg

44 DIE IN BAY AREA AIR CRASH.

NONE SURVIVE DIVE OF PACIFIC PLANE.

Concord (AP) -- Forty-four persons died today in the diving crash of a Pacific Airlines plane in rolling Coast Range foothills 40 miles east of San Francisco.
Witnesses said the F27 Fairchild twin-engined turboprop airliner appeared to plunge straight down. The FBI said it received reports that a smoke puff from one of the plane's engines was seen just before it crashed.
A Pacific Airlines spokesman said the plane carried 40 passengers, a crew of three, and a Federal Aviation Agency observer.
GEORGE M. GALVIN, assistant to the airlines president, said Capt. ERNEST CLARK was the plane's pilot. The first officer was R. ANDRESS and the stewardess MARGE SCHAFER.
Thirty-one passengers had boarded at Reno, Nev. and nine others at Stockton, Calif., on Pacific's daily flight 773 from Reno to San Francisco.
An airlines spokesman said as far as he knew the crash was the first for a Fairchild airliner in this country.
Third Crash.
The crash was Pacific Airlines' third in 21 years of operations. Twenty-three lives wer lost in the 1951 crash of a Douglas DC3 near Santa Barbara. A co-pilot was killed in a takeoff crash at Santa Maria in 1959.
The plane shattered on the crest of a gentle slope among the rolling hills east of Danville.
The spot is on the fringe of an East Bay area of high-priced homes encroaching into ranch and range country southwest of Mr. Diablo, a Coast Range peak.
The Civil Aeronautics Board dispatched investigators from its Oakland office to the scene "to establish absolute security over the crash area." The action was to preserve and possible clues to the crash cause.
Shattered.
OWEN OWENS, general manager of the Concord Transcript, said the wreckage was so shattered it was hard to believe it was more than a small private plane.
A Tasajero rancher, GORDON RASSMUSSEN, said the "plane exploded into small bits .. There wasn't a piece larger than a foot in diameter, except for the landing gear, after it hit."
RASSMUSS said he saw the plane coming in and that "it faltered, there was a puff of smoke and it crashed a mile from my ranch."
The air controller's office at Oakland International Airport said the plane abruptly disappeared from its radar scopes.
The wreckage did not burn, but fire engines from Walnut Creek and Concord were dispatched as a precaution.
Another airliner in the area reported seeing a puff of smoke from one of the Fairchild's engines just before it crashed, the FBI was informed. It also was told that one of the engines was not located and the adjacent hills were being searched for it.
Pacific Air Lines released the following list of passengers:
Boarded at Reno:
R. GAULT; MRS. R. GAULT; R. BRANDER; CHRIS GALENIS; MR. BECKLEY; MR. BLOCK; MR. MARTY; MRS. MARTY; MR. LAEAUG; MRS. LAEAUG; A. M. SCHABERG; MRS. ELEANOR PARKER; MRS. G. LEE; MRS. L. TARMAECHI; J. DRAGIO; MRS. V. MELVIN; A. J. MELLO; C. WOOD; PAUL BELL; MISS GRAHAM; MRS. T. V. MARGROVE; T. V. MARGROVE; F. GONZALEZ; MRS. J. STOPP; MRS. P. STOPP; R. VARNEY, FAA observer; J. KALTBONNER; T. HG; C. HORR (or C. HALL); J. THOMPSON.
Boarded at Stockton: L. WILLIAMS; MRS. H. ALLRICH; MRS. E. THOMAS; MISS D. JOHNSON; MRS. N. CULETT; MR. FAKES; D. KENDRICK; MRS. D. KENDRICK; M. KENDRICK (Child); Infant KENDRICK.

Press Courier Oxnard California 1964-05-07

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