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Incident Name: fire and other resource supply, and transport of non-fire young people, Nez Perce National Forest
Date: 6/11/1979
Personnel: 10 lives lost, including Marvin "Whitey" Hackmeister, the pilot who was also a smokejumper and John Slinglander, co-pilot, also a smokejumper
Age:
Agency/Organization: US Forest Service
Position: aerial firefighter, pilot

Summary:

Ten people lost their lives, including
Marvin "Whitey" Hachmeister, age 51, a respected and experienced backcountry pilot;
John Slingerland, the co-pilot, age 53;

Forest Service Seasonal employees, young people, some of whom might have become wildland firefighters:
Ronald Hagan;
Robert (Andy) Taylor;
Donald Easthouse;
Patrick McGreevey;
Philip Leber;
Catherine Hodgin;
Robert Cook;
Thomas Terkeurst

A Forest Service owned and operated Douglas Commercial (DC)-3 C-47 and its two person crew started their day dispatched from the Grangeville, Idaho Airport to transport personnel and gear to the Moose Creek Ranger Station up the Selway River, a distance of about 60 miles. On board the aircraft were 11 Forest Service employees (which included the pilot and copilot), one volunteer, 3,100 pounds of cargo, and two canines.

The DC-3 had apparently developed engine problems during their flight. Black smoke was observed coming from the right engine for a short period during takeoff. There were also indications that the DC-3’s left engine experienced problems during its flight and the right engine burned and fell off the wing about three miles before impact in the river.

 

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Maps

Selway River, ID, approximately 10 mi downriver from the Moose Creek Ranger Station.

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • Concise Information from the FAA, AAP and research by the WLF Staff:
    • 6/11/1979
    • 10 died: Whitey Hackmeister, pilot; the co-pilot, and 7 Forest Service young people, plus a volunteer (not on fire assignment)
    • Operator: Forest Service
    • Type: Douglas Commercial (DC)-3, C-47 Skytrain
    • Location: Selway River, ID; approximately 10 mi downriver from the Moose Creek Ranger Station
    • FAA Registration # N148Z
    • NTSB # none
  • Probable cause and factual report from USFS: Fatal Aviation Accident History 3 page Excerpt, pages 85-88 (361 K pdf) | 112 page Full Report (all accidents: 4,017 K pdf)
    The DC-3 had apparently developed engine problems during their flight. Black smoke was observed coming from the right engine for a short period during takeoff. There were also indications that the DC-3’s left engine experienced problems during its flight. (much morein the report about maintenence, engine replacement, hours on each engine, etc)
  • US Forest Service Heroes Memorial:Marvin Hackmeister | John Slingerland
  • ID, Southern Counties Obituaries: Marvin D Hachmeister
  • US Social Security Death Index: John Slingerland

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Wildlandfire.com Links:

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Media Articles and Reports

DC3 Crashes DC3 Crashes
DC3 Crashes DC3 Crashes
DC3 Crashes DC3 Crashes

Tail section of DC3 -- N148Z -- on the Selway River in 1979

DC3 Tail Section DC3 Tail Section

Sister ship-- N146Z -- that crashed at Moose Creek in 1959

DC3 Crash at Moose Creek DC3 Crash at Moose Creek

 

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Photos, Videos, & Tributes

 

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Contributors to this article:  Brett Rogers, Mellie

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