Seven Lost in Air Crash

An Air Force HC-130 cargo plane with seven persons aboard crashed and exploded on impact Friday at the remote Sparrevohn Air Station in the Alaska Range. Several hours after the crash, which occurred less than a mile from the runway, no bodies or signs of survivors had been found. However, the Air Force said the search would continue until darkness Friday and would resume Saturday morning. The Air Force said there were five crew members and two passengers aboard the plane. The names of those aboard were not immediately available.

Sparrevohn, a radar base in the Alaska Air Command Defense System , is 150 miles west of Anchorage. The accident occurred at about 2:50 p.m. just short of the Sparrevohn runway, Hodges said. Some blowing snow was reported in the area, but the visibility was reported at 20 miles at the time of the crash. The field has been described by military pilots as one of the most difficult in Alaska.

The Federal Aviation Administration's Alaska Supplement says of the strip, which is closed to the public. "Caution, runway surrounded by mountains. Runway located on slope of 3,302 foot mountain. Successful go-around improbable." The report also says winds in excess of 20 knots can produce extreme turbulence. Only daylight flights are allowed.

By The Associated Press
Anchorage Daily News, Saturday, April 29, 1978

Seven Bodies Are Recovered At Crash Site

The Air Force has launched an investigation into the crash Friday of an HC-130 cargo plane that exploded on a mountainside near a remote radar station in the rugged Alaska Range killing all seven aboard, an Air Force spokesman said Saturday. The plane, which crashed about 150 miles west of Anchorage at Sparrevohn Air Station, carried five crewman and two passengers. All perished.

They were:

-Pilot, Captain Robert W. "Bob" Roulston, 35, of Philadelphia.
-Co-pilot, 1st Lt. Curtis M. "Curtis" Wells, 26, of Tulsa, Oklahoma
-Navigator, 1st Lt. Steven R. "Steve" Cannon, 25, of Detroit, Michigan
-Flight Engineer, TSgt. Peter J. "Pete" Staffan, 33, of Mackinaw, Michigan
-Loadmaster, TSgt. James W. Gainey, 40, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Two passengers, Senior Master Sergeant Duane A. Edquist, 43, of Litchfield Park, Arizona, and Capt. Arthur F. Klein, 32, of Nashville, Tennessee.

The aircraft is the military version of Lockheed's Hercules.

A Military Airlift Command investigation team was to fly from Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, to Elmendorf Air Force Base here, and then Sparrevohn, said Major Ken Barker, information officer at Elmendorf.

The C-130 was on a routine supply mission when it crashed on approach for landing at about 2:50 p.m. Friday (April 28, 1978), Barker said. "Eyewitnesses said the aircraft exploded on impact with the ground just short of the remote site's 4,000 foot gravel runway," said Barker. Military pilots have described the field as one of the most difficult in Alaska.

Meanwhile, a preliminary investigation was conducted by an Elmendorf team, but another Air Force spokesman, TSgt. Joe Cardoza, said it could be months before the cause of the crash is determined.

The C-130 was with the 17th Tactical Airlift Squadron at Elmendorf and had flown from Elmendorf to Sparrevohn.

Though blowing snow was reported in the area, visibility was 20 miles when the plane crashed.

 By The Associated Press


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