Lihue, HI Navy Plane Crashes On Island, June 1983
NAVY CRASH BODIES RECOVERED.
Lihue, Hawaii -- Navy rescue workers have airlifted the remains of 14 Navy airmen out of the rugged wilderness area where their submarine surveillance plane crashed on a routine training exercise, a Navy spokesman said.
A rescue team, working along the steep 3,000 foot ridge that the plane slammed into early into early Thursday, hoisted the first remains out of the area by helicopter at 2:45 p.m. Friday, said 3rd Fleet spokesman Lt. GEORGE BROWN.
"The weather cleared just long enough for us to complete the operation," said BROWN, who added that bodies were brought out "one or two at a time."
The recovery work was finished by 5 p.m., he said.
The remains were flown to the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands, which is near the crash site on the island of Kauai's northwestern shore, BROWN said. They were to be placed in the base's temporary morgue, and later flown to Hickam AFB on Oahu, he said.
The Navy team was flown to the isolated mountain area from Barking Sands by helicopter early Friday along with an eight-member Navy investigation team from Barbers Point NAS, BROWN said.
Both teams were lowered from the hovering aircraft down a sheer cliff to reach the scattered wreckage of the plane and its occupants.
The P-3B Orion submarine tracking plane, part of the "Screaming Eagles" Patrol Squadron One, crashed into the side of the cliff near its summit at 4 a.m. Thursday.
One man who was the wreckage said there was nothing left but shreds.
"It's the worst crash I've ever seen in my life, and I've seen alot of them," said private helicopter pilot JACK HARTER.
The aircraft, piloted by Lt. Cmdr. J. R. MOSELEY, of Macon, Ga., gave no indication of being in trouble before the crash, a 3rd Fleet spokesman said.
The plane's entire crew of 14 men was killed.
In addition to MOSELEY, the officers on board were Lt. MICHAEL E. GALLAGHER of Pensacola, Fla.; Lt. j. g. ROBERT L. COLTER of Glendora, N. J.; Lt. j. g. ROBERT W. BRUNO of Mojave, Calif., and Lt. MICHAEL R. LUNDE of Arlington, Texas.
The enlisted men were identified as: RONALD C. WILSON of Fresno, Calif.; BRIAN M. SPARROW of Westland, Mich.; BRIAN D. SUNDE of Erie, Pa.; AMANDO S. CASTILLO of Hollister, Calif.; RONALD LIPSCHUTZ of Elverts, Calif.; DAVID STRINGER of Eau Claire, Wis.; LESLIE A. ROTH of Oxnard, Calif,; CHRISTOPHER CHAMBERS of Houston; and STEPHEN PHIPPS of Monticello, Ky.
A Navy spokesman said PHIPPS and WILSON were aviation electrician's mates; SPARROW was an aviation electronics technician; SUNDE, CASTILLO and LIPSCHUTZ were aviation antisubmarine warfare operators; ROTH was an aviation ordance man; CHAMBERS was an aviation antisubmarine warfare technician, and STRINGER was an aviaion antisubmarine warfare operator.
Campers along the Na Pali coastline, which is accessible only by foot or by helicopter or boat, saw the crash and marked its location with an arrow on the beach, commercial helicopter pilot ART BRADBURY said.
The effort to recover the bodies was hampered not only by erratic weather but by the dangerous terrain, which precluded even a helicopter landing, BROWN said.
The eight-man investigation team planned to re-enter the area Saturday to continue trying to find the cause of the accident, he said.
Pacific Stars and Stripes Tokyo Japan 1983-06-20