Incident Name: approaching the Columbia Airtanker Base, Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit, California
Personnel: 2 lives lost
Agency/Organization: Hemet Valley Flying Service under contract with CDF (now CAL FIRE)
Position: aerial firefighter
Don Campbell, 63
John Carter, 50
The PBY-6A airtanker - Tanker 77 - was on final approach to the airport at Columbia CA when it undershot the runway and crashed into rocks. Pilot Don Campbell & Copilot John Carter died.
Columbia Airtanker Base, Tuolumne, California, crashed on final approach
- Concise Information from the NTSB, FAA, AAP and research by the WLF Staff:
- 7/18/1970, 1600 hours
- 2 killed, Don Campbell & John Carter
- Operator: Hemet Valley Flying Service under contract with California Department of Forestry (now CAL FIRE)
- Type: CONVAIR PBY-6A
- Location: runway at Columbia Airtanker Base, CA
- FAA Registration # N6459C
- NTSB # OAK71FVA08
- National Transportation Safety Board: Probable Cause
Undershot final approach to runway; Collided with object.
The pilot in command - misjudged distance, speed and altitude.
Factors: Miscellaneous acts, conditions - downwind; weather - high temperature;
Remarks - aircraft observed making 360 turns at low altitude. Pilot replied final approach. Hit granite boulders 252 feet short, 5 feet below runway.
- For more information consult the NTSB online lookup Utility Use NTSB Identification: OAK71FVA08
- Warbird Registry: Tanker 77
- California Death Index: John W Carter | Donald Campbell
Contributors to this article: Mellie
Please support the Wildland Firefighter Foundation