Back in January 1964 my grandfather (George) was flying Austins DC3 to Nemiscan Settlement near James Bay. Part way through the flight, things started to go wrong….
According to the Aviation Safety Network report “The aircraft was on a non-scheduled flight from Moosonee to Nemiscan Settlement. The pilot stated that he used the rear fuel tanks for take-off and cruise and that they contained about 150 gallons of fuel, with about 10-15 gallons in each of the front tanks. The power settings used for the flight were about 28 inches manifold pressure and 2050 rpm with automatic lean mixture. About 50 minutes after take-off the left engine fuel pressure dropped to zero, and the engine failed. The booster pumps were switched on and the tank selections were changed without effect. At this time the right engine fuel pressure dropped to zero, and the engine failed. Attempts to re-start were unsuccessful and when the aircraft was 200 ft above the ground the pilot realized he could not reach the Rupert River. A forced landing was made into trees about 1000 ft from the river with the undercarriage down. Both pilots were severely injured.”
The porcupine news article:
It must have been quite the crash since my grandfather had broken both legs and an arm. His right ankle was fused and the leg was a fraction of an inch shorter – he wore special shoes to help him walk after the accident.
This is a picture of the DC3 before the crash circa 1963 taken by my grandfather (George Charity Collection).
I vaguely remember him telling the story about the cash when I was young. He said they ran out of fuel but couldnt confirm, engines died and they looked for a clearing with no luck (the area was heavily forested back then – before the fire 5-6 years ago). They were carrying barrels of fuel and to prevent them from getting crushed by the barrels during a crash landing, they swung the tail around quick before skimming the tops of the trees and eventually coming to a stop resting on the tops of trees. They were trapped there for a few days before a rescue party was able to fly in and hike to the site and carry them out.
These are pictures of the wreck shortly after the crash taken by a mechanic friend of my Grandfathers. He would visit the wreck on occasion to salvage parts (by this time this was taken the wreck had fallen to the ground). My grandfather told me his friend would fly in, tie down his plane close to shore and hike in to the wreck.
Today I heard from a ranger (Jean-Claude) that is surveying the area and he somehow found my blog site where I have pictures of the DC3. Very surprised, it was exciting to see aerial view pictures of the plane taken very recently. The planes is still there and appears to be intact less the engines that were salvaged. If you look closely you can see the impact of the forest fire that occurred there 20 years ago. The picture above from 1964 shows dense tree growth (which probably cushioned the planes landing).
The guys assembled a great video.
Jean-Claude plans to hike in to the wreck and take some pictures in the next month, I look forward to hearing about the story. I’d like to hike in myself but the location is very remote (South east of Waskaganish Quebec – was called Rupert House years ago) and requires a bush plane (has floats). Such a trip for myself would be very expensive but maybe someday when I need some adventure.