Oops...

off track

Above, a McMurdo common drive photo of the track of the unfortunate aircraft. This happened near Upstream D (81�S-140�W) on 16 November 1998. An account by Bruce Blackburn:

As the aircraft was taxiing after drifting the cargo the pilot was trying to find a better takeoff route. She felt the bump as she landed across the crevasse. the nose ski bumped and she hit full power on all engines. The right ski dropped in and #4 hit the snow. The ski jumped out but the left side was not so lucky. They had to replace three engines on site and all 4 props as a precaution. The crevasse was not uncovered as you see in the picture 'till the salvage crew got on scene. They filled the crevasse with snow and used a bullbag to get the ski out of the crack. Note; I had ridden this aircraft to and from Downstream Charlie two weeks before the incident. A week after I returned the afore mentioned pilot had come in to the Ice runway with a quartering tail wind and ground-looped the aircraft off of the runway. She didn't return to the Ice this season.

More photos...

caught with crack
The aircraft caught in the crevasse (RH).
the aircraft caught in a crevasse
Here is a closeup shot, this one was posted on the former Hercules Headquarters web page.
looking into the crevasse



A close up view of the crevasse (RH).
looking into the crevasse from the wing



Looking down at the crevasse from atop the wing (SK).
looking at the left wing
Looking at the aircraft from off the left wing (SK).
digging out a ramp to pull out the Herc
In addition to the air bag mentioned above, a fair amount of excavation was required to get the aircraft back up on level ground (SK).
the excavation as seen from atop the aircraft
Here's a view of the excavation from atop the aircraft (SK).
almost ready to pull the aircraft out
Almost ready to pull the aircraft out (SK)...
pulling the aircraft up onto level snow
...thus (SK).
hero shot of the recovery participants

Here's a hero shot of the recovery participants (SK).

More news coverage, here is the link to the Antarctic Sun article. And here's another archived USAF press release about the team that was sent in to save things.

Various credits...Bruce Blackburn is a long-time Antarctic comms guy, Robert Holmes is a met person who spent a number of summers on the ice with the Wisconsin AWS program, Scott (snackbar) Konu is a heavy equipment operator who wintered at Pole in 1996 and has spent many more seasons at McM...and Summit, where he was until recently in 2014. And I should also note that the firebirds.org website, the source of a couple of the above links, covers the 17th Tactical Aircraft Squadron and its successors. This was the USAF group that flew ski-equipped Hercules aircraft to Pole a year before VX-6 acquired any.