Garberville, CA Airliner Crashes Along Coast, June 1971


Shelter Cove, Humboldt Co., -- Sixteen of 23 passengers are dead or missing in the crash of a DC3 carrying real estate salesmen for a land development firm.
The plane, transporting passengers for Shelter Cove Sea Park, Ltd., clipped the top off a sewage treatment plant as it left a runway here and plunged into the sea, breaking in half when it smashed into a huge rock.
Searchers worked until after midnight recovering 10 bodies from the 45-degree waters of the cove. The Coast Guard cutter Comanche discovered two bodies floating in the surf this morning.
Humboldt County Coroner EDWARD L. NIELSON said two of the passengers apparently were drowned and five died of injuries suffered in the crash.
Death For Pilots.
The pilot, MERL BASSLER, and the copilot, LESTER HALL, were killed. Three survivors were flown to Southern Humboldt Community Hospital in Garberville. They were identified as:
JOEL DuPLAIN of Encinatas, San Diego County; HERBERT HUBER, 37, of Fairfield and ELIZABETH BEAUVILLE of San Francisco, the stewardess.
Four survivors hospitalized at St. Joseph's Hospital in Eureka are:
BILLY NELSON, 29, STEVEN REID, 41, and ANTHONY SANCHEZ, 61, all of San Diego and IRVING GROSSMAN, 36, of Los Angeles.
A complete list of the plane's passengers was withheld pending notification of relatives.
There were about a dozen spectators watching the DC3 and another aircraft, a Martin 404, both owned by the Shelter Cove Development Corp., as they took off at 7:15 p.m. yesterday.
The manager of the Shelter Cove tract, TIMOTHY DAWSON, said he watched the planes take off and "everything was normal as far as the DC3 was concerned but it just seemed to drop off the edge of the runway and plunge into the ocean."
Possible Crash Cause
However, Coast Guard pilots flying helicopters out of the Shelter Cove Airport this morning said they understood the DC3 took off after the larger, twin-engined Martin 404 and may have encountered severe turbulence. This could have caused it to lose altitude as it left the runway.
The first plane carried about 40 prospective customers who were flown to the area from San Diego, Los Angeles and San Jose to look at recreation home sites.
The plane circled and landed after the accident and later ferried injured from the DC3 to Eureka for hospital treatment.
At daylight Coast Guard helicopters criss-crossed the cove, stopping to scoop debris or mark with smoke bombs possible body locations for boats to investigate.

The Modesto Bee and News-Herald California 1971-06-28


Airplane Crash Shelter Cove 1971

I was a witness to this..most of your article is correct, some of it is totally wrong.