Anchorage, AK Airliner Crashes On Take-Off, Nov 1970

Anchorage AL  Capital Airlines crash 11-27-1970.jpg



Anchorage, Alaska (AP) -- The pilot of a chartered jetliner ferrying servicemen to Vietnam apparently was trying to halt his takeoff when the DC8 nosed back onto the icy runway, was jolted by explosions, then crashed and burned, investigators said Saturday.
The Alaskan Command said 46 of the 229 persons aboard were killed in the crash, which occurred while the plane was taking off in darkness and a freezing drizzle from the Anchorage airport.
LARRY CAMPBELL, National Transportation Safety Board -- NTSB -- spokesman in Anchorage, said a series of explosions "followed an attempted abort" as the fuel-laden aircraft strained to become airborne. It was piiloted by WILLIAM G. REID of Napa, Calif.
Witnesses said the plane slithered over the slippery runway, up a small mound and across a depression in the earth, cracking into pieces as it came to rest nearly three-quarters of a mile from the runway's end.
Survivors and witnesses described a variety of small explosions they said occurred as the plane's nost lifted, then turned downward. At least two explosions of larger size erupted a few minutes after the stricken plane skidded to a stop, one witness said.
Another said a blast hurled a ball of fire skyward. Others told of seeing bluish flames, of fire in an engine on the plane's right side prior to the crash, and of what could have been a pressure stall or backfire.
Federal and local authorities, as well as spokesmen for Capitol Internatinal Airways which owned the $12-million plane and chartered it to the military, generally declined comment as to possible cause of the crash or other related matters.
"We won't be able to release any technical data until the NTSB completes its investigation," CECIL EDMONDS, Capitol vice president said in Wilmington, Del.
CAMPBELL declined to say why he believed the pilot was trying to abort the take off or what caused the action.
The plane left McChord Air Force Base at Tacoma, Wash., Friday stopping at Anchorage for refueling and a change of crew. It carried 219 passengers which military spokesmen said were military personnel and their dependents, including a number of children. It was headed for a stop in Yakota, Japan, en route to its Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, destination.
Military spokesmen said there were 174 known survivors among defense personnel and their dependents. The survivors included several children and more than 100 injured persons, the spokesmen said.

Continued on Page 2.


Kenneth Fuller

I was wondering if you know the name Kenneth Fuller by any chance he was on that plane that day returning to Vietnam. Any information would be very helpful thank you so much

Empty void

My father sgt. Herbert L.Jones of Ethelsville Alabama was killed on that flight. If anyone has any information about that flight I never got to meet him....

Our company was dispatched to

Our company was dispatched to the crash area.I was with the 56th MP co. My thoughts and prayers are still with those brave soldiers and their families.

Today, I had a posting on

Today, I had a posting on Facebook honoring another friend who died in Viet Nam 5/8/1967 I was reminded of another friend Sgt. James Sanders who perished while in transport back to Viet Nam for his 2nd tour of duty. Sad to hear these service men are not on the Viet Nam Wall. Jim (Buster) was another neighborhood friend, and what you would call a good, upstanding young man. Gone way too soon Hoping you and LCPL Calvin Alan Parks (Cappy) are at peace.

Anchorage Ak Crash

The name of the C1 from Tampa, Fl was Edward Howard. He was my first cousin. He was 21. I was 14 years old at the time.

State Incorrect

Airman1C James W. Patterson was from Rocky Mount, Virginia, not Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

Air crash nov,27,1970 Anchorage,Ak

Nanci Rae,
My deepest sympathies to you on the loss of your brother in the Alaskan air crash Nov 27,1970.
I was one of the medics charged with the removal of bodies from the plane.Rest assured it was accomplished with much sadness and profound dignity.All were heroes in my mind and their names should be engraved upon "The Wall" in Washington,DC.
Forty six years have passed and many times I find my mind wandering back to that fateful nite.When this happens I offer a silent prayer with great reverence to my Brothers who lost their lives in the service of their country.
May they all touch the Face of God and fly with the angels for eternity.
S/P5 Ray Girard
US Army '69-'71
Ft Richardson,Ak


Hello Bob my name is Heather Gonzales. I was wondering by any chance if you knew my grandpa his name was Terry Lee Johnston? He was also on that plane sadly I've never had a chance to meet him since he was so young when he passed but I have heard many stories. I recently just turned 29 but the only man that I ever knew asked my grandpa recently passed on the 11th I've never investigated his death I've been curious about it since my grandpa died. And I would like to know more so I was wondering if you knew him and if not that is completely OK but I would like to know more about the plane crash coming from the survivors I please email me when you can. thank you.

Capitol Airlines Flight C2C3 Crash, Anchorage, AK, 27 Nov 1970

Ms. Mallory,

My name is Bob Ellison...Robert W. Ellison...and I am a survivor of that crash. I was on my way back to Vietnam. I was one of twelve that was air-evac'd out of Elmendorf AFB hospital a couple of days following the crash and flown to the burn ward at Brook Army Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas where I remained for four months. I had a couple of skin grafts and learned to walk again before I was discharged from the hospital and the Army in March, 1971.

I am profoundly sorry to hear about the loss of your brother, David, in that crash. It seems there is never closure for a loss like this. I still have memories and an occasional flashback to the crash since I was conscious during most of it. I also remember that first night in the Elmendorf AFB hospital where I heard and watch a 19 year-old soldier from Houston, Texas die in my room from 3rd degree burns over 95% of his body. The memories don't fade, though much of the pain has. The scars are now more on the inside than visible on the outside.

Please know that I will keep the name of your brother in my heart, and you and your family in my prayers.

Bob Ellison

Anchorage Alaska Airline Crash, Nov. 27, 1970

My brother was David L. Mallery. He was just 21. I will never forget this. I heard of the crash on the radio and mentioned it to my husband, saying that David was on that plane, not really knowing any info about his flight to Vietnam. My husband, whose brother was in Nam, assured me that the military planes did not take that route. I was visited by my aunt and uncle who were visiting in the town i lived in and where David and I grew up in - Wellsville, NY - and they told me that my brother was in one of the explosions.
My mother NEVER got over losing her first-born son - never!
I recall hearing what the GI's were saying on the radio -- that they had told the stewardesses that there was a fuel leak. A number of them said this on the news report from Buffalo, NY that i heard. We later learned that this plane had been in for a problem with the landing gear locking up. What we were later told was that the landing gear caused a spark which ignited the leaking fuel, and caused the explosions. There were two explosions. They had to identify my brother by a tooth in a dental record. Cameron Bay, where he was assigned to was blown up just after he was to arrive there. You know - his name and likely none of the other GI's, that lost their lives to the Vietnam War are on the Wall to commemorate the Vietnam Vets, in DC! I'll bet all of the other GI families feel that this was not right. If any of you would like to help to see if we could change this and see that our loved ones are commemorated and honored on the "Wall", please contact me at [email protected] - thank you - his youngest sister, Nancy Rae Mallery