One aircraft lost

[from the Antarctic Journal (NSF), January-February 1972]

loose bottles
U.S. Navy   

Remaining two JATO bottles on left side of LC-130 that crashed on polar plateau. Burned area was caused by the two JATO bottles that separated from aircraft

On December 4, an LC-130 crashed on takeoff from the polar plateau. The aircraft had resupplied the French traverse party and was making a jet-assisted-take-off (JATO) from the open field at 6820'S 13731'E, some 760 nautical miles from McMurdo Station. Two of the 165-pound JATO bottles separated from the left side of the aircraft and struck a moving propeller. The pilot, Lt. Comdr. E. M. Gabriel, made a successful landing, and the ten crewmembers escaped without injury.

Adverse weather prevented a rescue aircraft from arriving for almost four days. The survivors spent 80 hours in survival tents and experienced -25F temperatures and 40 mile-per-hour winds, a -100F chill factor. The accident investigation team, which rescued the survivors, inspected the aircraft and declared it a total loss. It was stripped of useable parts and abandoned at the crash site.

The loss of one of the four fixed-wing aircraft available for airlift within Antarctica will have a serious effect on this season's activities. The programs are being evaluated to see where requirements might be altered.


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