Grand Canyon, AZ Plane Crashes Into Grand Canyon, Aug 1983

Grand Canyon ARIZ Crash site 1983.jpg Grand Canyon ARIZ type of plane that crashed.jpg


Las Vegas, Nev. (AP) -- Helicopters and alpine crews will be needed to reach the bodies of a pilot and nine Italian tourists killed when their sightseeing plane slammed into a mountain during a flight through storm-shrouded Grand Canyon.
The grim task of removing the bodies and wreckage from the plateau facing the canyon was to begin today, with crews rappelling down from helicopters or the face of the 5,800-foot Arizona mountain 110 miles east of Las Vegas.
Dodging Thunderstorms.
Las Vegas Airlines Flight 88, its pilot attempting to dodge thunderstorms that blanketed the canyon, flew into the mountain about noon Wednesday. The charred debris was found 24 hours later by another of the airline's pilots. A helicopter and paramedics who flew to the scene said there were no survivors.
"It's a wonder they even spotted the wreckage," said photographer Rene Germanier, who flew over the scene. "There was just nothing there. The biggest piece of the plane was a small section of the tail."
"It looks like it ran head-on into the mountain near the 5,800-foot level," said Earl Leseberg, owner of Lake Mead Airlines. Leseberg spotted the wreckage shortly after it was found by the Las Vegas Airlines pilot.
Need Helicopter.
"The only way they're going to get in there to get the bodies is with a helicopter," Leseberg said. "They can't even get horses in there."
"Weather conditions were very poor, very poor," said Sgt. Sam Whitted of the Coconino County, Ariz. Sheriff's Department. "There were widespread thunderstorms in the area, especially along the flight path of the airplane."
Sheriff's Sgt. Ron Anderson said the plane struck 75 feet below the rim of the 5,800-foot mountain, and the debris came to rest 50 feet below the point of impact.
The pilot was identified as WALLACE GUSTAFSON, JR., 48 years old.

Syracuse Herald Journal New York 1983-08-19
Photos courtesy of the excellent site
www.lostflights.org by Mike McComb
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