Bay Area Plane Crashes
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9/16/1931OaklandCarrier: Pacific Air Transport. Aircraft: Boeing 40. Aboard: 4. Fatalities: 4. Summary: Crashed into San Francisco Bay shortly after taking off from Oakland airport.
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3/25/1933HaywardCarrier: Varney Airlines. Aircraft: Lockheed Orion 9. Aboard: 3. Fatalities: 3. Ground fatalities: 11. Summary: The aircraft crashed into tops of two houses and smashed into a third, bursting into flames in heavy rain. An unusual and unforeseen condition of the weather developed its intensity in the immediate locality of the accident. The ceiling suddenly dropped as the plane approached its destination.
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2/9/1937San Francisco Bay Carrier: United Air Lines. Aircraft: Douglas DC-3A. Aboard: 11. Fatalities: 11. Summary: The aircraft crashed into San Francisco Bay, approximately 2 miles offshore, while on approach. The accidental jamming of the elevator controls as the result of the co-pilot's microphone being inadvertently dropped and lodged between the elevator control column and the seat rail in such a way that the crew was unable to prevent rapid descent of the airplane. First accident involving a DC-3.
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11/29/1938Off Point ReyesCarrier: United Air Lines. Aircraft: Douglas DC 3-A-SB-3-G-14. Aboard: 7. Fatalities: 7. Summary: The aircraft ran out of fuel and ditched into the ocean. Failure of the pilot to definitely establish the position of the aircraft through standard orientation procedures within a reasonable time after intersecting a leg of the Oakland radio range and of Company flight dispatchers, charged with the responsibilities of directing the operation of the trip, to properly safeguard the flight, resulting in forced landing of the aircraft at sea due to exhausted fuel supply.
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2/13/1945San Francisco BayCarrier: Military - U.S. Navy. Aircraft: Douglas R4D-6. Aboard: 24. Fatalities: 24. Summary: Crashed into San Francisco bay shortly after taking off. The right wing struck to water as the plane made a wide turn.
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1/28/1948Diablo RangeCarrier: Airline Transport Carriers. Aircraft: Douglas DC-3 (C-47B-DK). Aboard: 32. Fatalities: 32. Summary: The crew took the wrong plane which was scheduled for maintenance. An in-flight fire caused the engine and then wing to separate from the aircraft and crash out of control. Tests showed a fuel pump was broken in the left engine and would spray gasoline out where it could be ignited by the exhaust. The failure of the left wing in flight as a result of damage by fire which had its source in a defective left engine driven fuel pump.
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12/7/1949VallejoCarrier: Arrow Airlines. Aircraft: Douglas DC-3. Aboard: 9. Fatalities: 9. Summary: Struck a 1,200 ft. hill obscured by clouds, during a rainstorm, 6 miles east of Vallejo, California. The pilot failed to fly at the assigned altitude of 4,000 feet on his flightplan.
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8/5/1950Near FairfieldCarrier: Military - U.S. Air Force. Aircraft: Boeing B-29MR. Aboard: 20. Fatalities: 12. Ground fatalities: 7. Summary: The No. 2 propeller began to overspeed during the takeoff. This was followed by overspeeding of the No. 3 propeller. The No. 3 propeller was successfully feathered but then the landing gear would not retract. The aircraft was unable to gain altitude and the pilot slid the aircraft to the left to avoid a trailer park at the end of the runway. The aircraft stalled, fell to the ground and broke-up. Killed in the accident was Brigadier General Robert E. Travis. The installation was later renamed Travis Air Force Base in his honor.
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8/24/1951Decoto (Union City)Carrier: United Air Lines. Aircraft: Douglas DC-6B. Aboard: 50. Fatalities: 50. Summary: Cleared for an approach to Oakland Municipal Airport, the aircraft crashed 15 miles SSE of the airport into Tolman peak. Patches of fog obscured the terrain. The aircraft struck a hill at an elevation of about 1,000 ft. at 225 to 240 mph. Neither of its 2 low-frequency receivers were tuned to the Oakland station and the captain may have attempted to fly by visual reference using the ADF. As a result, the flight was 3 miles off course and well below the minimum prescribed altitude. The failure of the captain to adhere to instrument procedures in the Newark area during an approach to the Oakland Municipal Airport.
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9/12/1951San Francisco Bay, off Redwood CityCarrier: United Air Lines. Aircraft: Boeing 377 Stratocruiser 10-34. Aboard: 3. Fatalities: 3. Summary: The aircraft, with the No. 4 propeller feathered, stalled and dived into San Francisco Bay. An inadvertent stall at a low altitude from which recovery was not effected.
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3/20/1953Alvarado (Fremont)Carrier: Transocean Air Lines. Aircraft: Douglas DC-4 (C-54-10-DO). Aboard: 35. Fatalities: 35. Summary: The aircraft crashed into a flat barley field and burned. The aircraft first struck the ground with its right wing tip in a near vertical position, cartwheeled and disintegrated. All 30 passengers were maintenance personnel from the 509th Bomb Wing, noted for dropping the atomibombs on Japan. Accumulation of ice on the surfaces of the aircraft in sufficient magnitude to have caused loss of control. Official cause of loss of control unknown.
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4/20/1953San Francisco Bay off San FranciscoCarrier: Western Airlines. Aircraft: Douglas DC-6B. Aboard: 10. Fatalities: 8. Summary: The aircraft descended below minimum altitude and crashed into the sea. The pilot's action in continuing a descent below the 500 ft. prescribed minimum altitude until the aircraft struck the water. A probable contributing factor to the aircraft striking the water was the sensory illusion experienced by the pilots.
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10/29/1953Near Half Moon BayCarrier: British Commonwealth Pacific Airlines. Aircraft: Douglas DC-6. Aboard: 19. Fatalities: 19. Summary: While flying in fog on an approach to San Francisco International Airport, the aircraft crashed into a redwood forest on a mountain ridge, 7.5 miles southeast of Half Moon Bay. The plane struck the ridge of King's Mountain and broke up, scattering wreckage over a half-mile area. Failure of the crew to follow prescribed procedures for an instrument approach. American pianist, William Kapell, 31, killed.
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2/17/1956Near Niles (Fremont)Carrier: Military - U.S. Marine Corps. Aircraft: Douglas R5D2. Aboard: 40. Fatalities: 40. Summary: Crashed into Sunol Ridge after circling for half-an-hour while attempting to land at Alameda Naval Air Station. Non adherence of the crew to the holding pattern and departure from the radio beacon and descent in a unprescribed manner.
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2/3/1963San FranciscoCarrier: Slick Airways. Aircraft: Lockheed 1049H Super Constellation. Aboard: 8. Fatalities: 3. Summary: The aircraft struck approach lights 1,170 feet from the runway threshold, climbed to about 200 feet and then crashed approximately 1,900 feet beyond the threshold and on the left edge of Runway 28L. Continuation of an instrument approach after adequate visual reference was lost below authorized minimums. Inadequate monitoring of the instrument approach by the PAR controller was a contributing factor.
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5/7/1964San RamonCarrier: Pacific Air Lines. Aircraft: Fairchild F-27A. Aboard: 44. Fatalities: 44. Summary: The aircraft went into a steep dive and crashed 26 miles from it destinatiion of San Francisco Internatiional Airport. The last message which had to be obtained through laboratory analysis was 'Skipper's shot. We've been shot. I was trying to help.' Francisco Gonzales, a passenger, who had told several people he was going to kill himself, shot both the pilot and co-pilot. Gonzales, 27, a former member of the Philippine yachting team at the 1960 Olympics, had purchased life insurance policies totaling $105,000 prior to the flight.
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12/24/1964South San FranciscoCarrier: Flying Tiger Line. Aircraft: Lockheed L-1049H Super Constellation. Aboard: 3. Fatalities: 3. Summary: The cargo plane flew off course and struck a mountain in the San Bruno range. The pilot, for undetermined reasons, deviated from departure course into an area of rising terrain where downdraft activity and turbulence affected the climb capability of the aircraft sufficiently to prevent terrain clearance.
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6/28/1965San FranciscoCarrier: Pan American World Airways. Aircraft: Boeing B-707-321B. Aboard: 153. Fatalities: 0. Summary: Just after the aircraft took off from San Francisco International Airport, the No. 4 engine disintegrated tearing off 25 feet of the right wing. An emergency landing was safely made at Travis Air Force Base. A plane was dispatched to pick up the passengers at Travis Air Force Base. While attempting to land, and in plain view of the passengers, the nose gear collapsed. Improper turbine rotor positioning during engine assembly and the use of serviceable worn parts. The aircraft was named 'Clipper Friendship.'
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11/22/1968San Francisco Bay, off San FranciscoCarrier: Japan Air Lines. Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas DC-8-62. Aboard: 107. Fatalities: 0. Summary: The plane landed in the shallow waters of San Francisco Bay, 2.5 mile short of the Runway 28L. All 107 people aboard were safely evacuated off the plane without injury. According to the NTSB, the captain said he was making a coupled approach, but because of problems with his pressure altimeter, he was relying on the more accurate radio altimeter for verification of altitude. The captain looked up expecting to be 200 feet above the water but instead was nearly in the water. He applied power but it was too late. The captain did not cross-check the raw data glide-slope signals and didn't realize the ILS on-course position was far above where he was. The improper application of the prescribed procedures to execute an automatic-coupled ILS approach. This deviation from the prescribed procedures was, in part, due t o a lack of familiarization and infrequent operation of the installed flight director and autopilot system. As a result, Japan Air Lines changed their training procedures to stress command responsibilities, crew coordination and transition time for new type of aircraft. The aircraft was recovered from the San Francisco Bay 55 hours after the accident, repaired at a United Air Lines facility and eventually flow back to Japan where it was put in service for many decades.
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5/4/1970Hamilton Air Force Base (Novato)Carrier: Military - U.S. Air Force. Aircraft: Convair CV-240. Aboard: 14. Fatalities: 13. Summary:
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7/30/1971San FranciscoCarrier: Pan American World Airways. Aircraft: Boeing B-747-121. Aboard: 218. Fatalities: 0. Summary: The aircraft struck approach lights at the departure end of runway during takeoff. Miscalculation of available runway length and takeoff reference speed by crew. Erroneous information from the dispatcher. The aircraft was named 'Clipper America.'
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7/5/1972San FranciscoCarrier: Pacific Southwest Airlines. Aircraft: Boeing 737-200. Aboard: 86. Fatalities: 3. Summary: Two hijackers and one passenger killed.
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2/7/1973AlamedaCarrier: Miliary-U.S. Navy. Aircraft: A-7. Aboard: 1. Fatalities: 1. Ground fatalities: 10. Summary: A Navy A7 crashed into an apartment building on Central Avenue in Alameda, killing pilot and 10 people on the ground.
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4/12/1973SunnyvaleCarrier: Military - U.S. Navy / NASA. Aircraft: Lockheed P-3C / Convair CV-990-30A-5. Aboard: 17. Fatalities: 16. Summary: A Navy P-3C collided with a NASA research jet as it prepared to land at Moffett Naval Air Station. A ground controller mistakenly gave both planes permission to land on the same runway and the NASA plane settled on top of the P-3, 300 ft. off the ground. Both planes crashed onto a golf course. Five aboard the P-3 and 11 aboard the Convair were killed.
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4/12/1973Moffett AFB, CaliforniaCarrier: Military - U.S. Navy. Aircraft: Lockheed P-3C Orion /Convair CV-990. Aboard: 16. Fatalities: 15. Summary: Mid-air collision while landing. Five of 6 on the Orion and eleven aboard the CV-990 killed. Failure of the crew of the NASA crew to maintain a proper lookout for the P-3 which had transmitted being on the base leg and cleared to continue to Runway 32.
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7/6/2013San FranciscoCarrier: Asiana Airlines. Aircraft: Boeing 777. Aboard: 307. Fatalities: 2. Summary:
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11/18/1930Tehachapi Mountains (Kern County)Carrier: Pacific Air Transport. Aircraft: Boeing 40. Aboard: 3. Fatalities: 3. Summary: Flight from Burbank to Oakland crashed into a mountainside at an altitude of 4,500 feet during a snowstorm.
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12/27/1936Newhall (Los Angeles County)Carrier: United Air Lines. Aircraft: Boeing 247-D. Aboard: 12. Fatalities: 12. Summary: While on approach to Burbank Airport, the airliner en route from Oakland and San Francisco crashed into Rice Canyon. It was raining with poor visibility. Error on the part of the pilot in attempting to fly through the Newhall pass at an altitude lower than the surrounding mountains without first determining by radio, the existing weather.
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7/29/1938Pacific Ocean between Manila and GuamCarrier: Pan American World Airways. Aircraft: Martin M-130 (flying boat). Aboard: 15. Fatalities: 15. Summary: The flight, which originated in Alameda, crashed while en route between Guam and Manila. Cause unknown. The aircraft was named 'Hawaii Clipper.'
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1/21/1943Ukiah (Mendocino County)Carrier: Pan American World Airways. Aircraft: Martin M-130 (flying boat). Aboard: 19. Fatalities: 19. Summary: Flight en route from Hawaii to San Francisco crashed into a 2,500-foot mountain while circling in bad weather, after being unable to land in darkness and deciding whether to divert to San Diego. Failure of the captain to determine his position accurately before descending to a dangerously low altitude. The aircraft was named Philippine Clipper.
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11/4/1944Hanford (Kings County)Carrier: Trans Continental and Western Air. Aircraft: Douglas DC-3. Aboard: 24. Fatalities: 24. Summary: On flight en route from San Francisco to New York, wing separated from the aircraft after encountering severe turbulence in a thunderstorm.
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12/1/1944Van Nuys (Los Angeles County)Carrier: Trans Continental and Western Air. Aircraft: Douglas DC-3. Aboard: 17. Fatalities: 9. Summary: The flight, on first leg of flight from San Francisco to Burbank to New York, crashed and burned 6.5 miles west northwest of the Burbank Airport in dense fog. The pilot's deviation from the standard instrument approach procedure and descent below the established safe minimum altitude. A contributing factor was the company's failure to enforce adherence to company procedures.
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8/21/1946Moline, IllinoisCarrier: Trans Luxury Airlines. Aircraft: Douglas C-47-DL. Aboard: 25. Fatalities: 2. Summary: The aircraft, en route from Chicago to San Francisco, was flying near Moline, Illinois, when an engine failed. The plane attempted an emergency landing and cartwheeled.
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9/5/1946Elko, NevadaCarrier: Trans-Luxury Airlines. Aircraft: Douglas DC-3 (C-47-A5-DL). Aboard: 22. Fatalities: 21. Summary: The aircraft, on its way to San Francisco from New York, lost contact with the ground in fog and crashed into a hillside while attempting to land at Elko Airport. A two-year-old boy was the only survivor.
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10/8/1946Cheyenne, WyomingCarrier: United Air Lines. Aircraft: Douglas DC-4. Aboard: 41. Fatalities: 2. Summary: After two landing attempts at the Cheyenne airport, the pilot of the San Francisco-New York flight tried to land on a different runway. The wing struck the ground and the plane skidded 800 feet.
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10/17/1946Laramie, WyomingCarrier: National Air Transport Services. Aircraft: Douglas DC-3. Aboard: 13. Fatalities: 13. Summary: Oakland-Chicago flight crashed during a snowstorm while attempting to land.
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6/30/1951Rocky Mountain National Park, ColoradoCarrier: United Air Lines. Aircraft: Douglas DC-6B. Aboard: 50. Fatalities: 50. Summary: En route from San Francisco to Denver after passing the Cheyenne radio range the aircraft turned south in the wrong heading. Flying in darkness, the aircraft continued on this course until it hit Crystal Mountain. The captain may have depressed the wrong control switch or may have turned his ADF in such a way that it was affected by the radio range station at Fort Bridger, WY. Officially, the flight for reasons undetermined, failed to follow the prescribed route to Denver and continued beyond the boundary of the airway on a course which resulted in the aircraft striking mountainous terrain.
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11/5/1951Near Tucumcari, New MexicoCarrier: Transocean Air Lines. Aircraft: Martin 202. Aboard: 29. Fatalities: 1. Summary: Flight from Oakland crashed while attempting to land at Albuquerque in marginal weather conditions.
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1/7/1953Issaquah, WashingtonCarrier: Flying Tiger Line. Aircraft: Douglas C-54B-10-DO. Aboard: 7. Fatalities: 7. Summary: The plane, bound from San Francisco to Seattle, hit trees and high ground while on approach.
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7/12/1953Pacific Ocean, east of Wake IslandCarrier: Transocean Air Lines. Aircraft: Douglas DC-6A. Aboard: 58. Fatalities: 58. Summary: Flight to Oakland lost at sea while en route from Wake Island to Honolulu. Cause not determined, but there were thunderstorms and turbulence in the area. Fourteen bodies and all life rafts were recovered. The aircraft was named 'The Royal Hawaiian.'
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9/8/1955BurbankCarrier: Currey Air Transport. Aircraft: Douglas DC-3. Aboard: 33. Fatalities: 3. Summary: The Oakland-bound plane tried to return to airport after an engine failure, stalled and crashed 200 yards short of the runway.
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10/6/1955Near Centennial, WyomingCarrier: United Air Lines. Aircraft: Douglas DC-4. Aboard: 66. Fatalities: 66. Summary: The aircraft, on a flight from Denver to Salt Lake City to San Francisco, crashed into cloud covered Medicine Bow Peak while en route. The plane failed to clear the 12,013 ft. peak by 75 feet. The pilot deviated from course for reasons unknown.
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10/16/1956Over the Pacific OceanCarrier: Pan American World Airways. Aircraft: Boeing 377 Stratocruiser. Aboard: 31. Fatalities: 0. Summary: The aircraft ditched into the PacifiOcean while on a flight from San Francisco to Honolulu after losing the No. 1 and then the No. 4 engine. The aircraft circled around the U.S. Coast Guard cutter 'Pontchartrain', at Ocean Station November until daybreak after which it made a successful ditching with no casualties. The aircraft was named 'Clipper Sovereign of the Sky.'
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3/1/1964Near Zephyr Cove, NevadaCarrier: Paradise Airlines. Aircraft: Lockheed 049 Constellation. Aboard: 85. Fatalities: 85. Summary: The flight originated in San Jose and crashed into Genoa Peak while attempting to land in bad weather after a missed approach and go-around.
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3/28/1964North Pacific OceanCarrier: Private - Facilities Management Co.. Aircraft: Douglas C-54A-10-DC. Aboard: 9. Fatalities: 9. Summary: Honolulu-San Francisco flight vanished while en route, 1,120 miles west of San Francisco, after the pilot reported an engine fire.
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12/26/1968Elmendorf Air Force Base, AlaskaCarrier: Pan American World Airways. Aircraft: Boeing 707-321CF. Aboard: 3. Fatalities: 3. Summary: Flight ferom San Francisco to Vietnam by way of Anchorage. Crashed during takeoff on last leg.
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1/9/1971Edison, New JerseyCarrier: American Airlines / Private. Aircraft: Boeing B-707-323 / Cessna 150. Aboard: 21. Fatalities: 2. Summary: Flight from San Francisco to Newark in midair collision at 3,000 feet. The Boeing 707 landed safely. Two killed on the Cessna.
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6/27/1971Garberville (Humboldt County)Carrier: Shelter Cove Sea Park. Aircraft: Douglas DC-3. Aboard: 24. Fatalities: 17. Summary: On flight to San Jose, aircraft was unable to gain altitude on takeoff. It struck a transformer and a building, became airborne and went off a cliff into the ocean. Failure of the pilot to remove the rudder and elavator gust locks.
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11/3/1973Near Albuquerque, New MexicoCarrier: National Airlines. Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10. Aboard: 128. Fatalities: 1. Summary: Flight from Miami to San Francisco. Overspeeding of the starboard engine caused the engine to disintegrate. Pieces struck the fuselage, breaking a window, causing rapid explosive decompression and a passenger was sucked out of the plane. The plane landed safely.
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5/23/1974Springfield, IllinoisCarrier: Saturn Airways. Aircraft: Lockheed L-100-30 Hercules. Aboard: 3. Fatalities: 3. Summary: While en route from Alameda to Indianapolis, plane's left wing separated. The plane crashed out of contol. The undiscovered, preexisting fatigue cracks, which reduced the strength of the left wing to the degree that it failed as a result of positive aerodynamic loads created by moderate turbulence.
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8/24/1984San Luis ObispoCarrier: Wings West Airlines / Private. Aircraft: Beechcraft C99 / Rockwell 112TC. Aboard: 17. Fatalities: 17. Summary: A head-on midair collision occurred at 3,400 feet as flight for San Francisco took off from San Luis Obispo Airport . The Beech was climbing and the Rockwell was descending. Two aboard the Rockwell aircraft were killed along with 15 aboard the Beech.
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2/19/1985Over Pacific Ocean, northwest of San FranciscoCarrier: China Airlines (Taiwan). Aircraft: Boeing B-747-SP-09. Aboard: 274. Fatalities: 0. Summary: The Taipei-San Francisco flight descended in an uncontrollable dive, from 41,000 to 9,500 ft. after the crew shut down an engine. The captain, preoccupied the malfunctioning engine, didn't properly monitor instruments and over relied on the autopilot and did not use his rudder to keep the plane from rolling . The autopilot disengaged after it could not handle the excessive roll caused by the shut-down engine. After a terrifying series of inadvertent aerobatics, the plane leveled off at 9,500 feet and managed to land safely at San Francisco.
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12/7/1987San Luis ObispoCarrier: Pacific Southwest Airlines. Aircraft: British Aerospace BAe-146-200A. Aboard: 43. Fatalities: 43. Summary: A fired USAir employee, David Burke, after leaving a goodbye message to friends, shot both pilots on Los Angeles-San Francisco flight with a .44 pistol. While the aircraft was cruising at 22,000 feet over the central California coast, the cockpit crew heard two shots in the passenger cabin and radioed a frantimessage to air trafficontrollers: 'There’s gunfire aboard.' Moments later, the plane entered a high-speed nosedive and smashed onto the ground at 700 mph. Investigators sifting through the wreckage were able to retrieve the plane’s cockpit voice recorder, which subsequently revealed the sounds of a commotion in the cockpit, three more shots, the groan of the pilot or co-pilot, and then a final shot.
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1/31/2000Off Point Mugu (Ventura County)Carrier: Alaska Airlines. Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas MD-83. Aboard: 88. Fatalities: 88. Summary: The aircraft, bound to San Francisco from Puerto Vallarta, crashed into the Pacific Ocean south of Point Mugu in 650 ft. feet of water while en route from Puerto Vallarta to San Francisco. Radio transmissions from the plane indicated the pilots were struggling with a jammed stabilizer for the last 11 minutes of the flight before nose-diving into the sea.
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9/11/2001Shanksville, PennsylvaniaCarrier: United Air Lines. Aircraft: Boeing B-757-222. Aboard: 44. Fatalities: 44. Summary: The aircraft was hijacked after taking off from Newark International Airport. The hijackers took control of the aircraft and turned the plane towards Washington D.C. A struggle ensued between the passengers and hijackers after which the plane crashed at a high rate of speed into a field in the Pennsylvania countryside. It was one of four planes that were hijacked the same day.
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Carrier: United Air Lines. Aircraft: Boeing B-757-222. Aboard: 44. Fatalities: 44. Summary: The San Francisco-bound aircraft was hijacked after taking off from Newark International Airport. The hijackers took control of the aircraft and turned the plane towards Washington D.C. A struggle ensued between the passengers and hijackers after which the plane crashed at a high rate of speed into a field in the Pennsylvania countryside. It was one of four planes that were hijacked the same day.
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