"Canadian Forces Station Alert"
"CC130 130322 Crash"

Alert, Nunavut
Canada

Photo provided by Irv Finkleman


I recently received (Dec 2006) emails from a young lady in Ontario:
"Hello Jim, I was just going through your web page of alert and it is pretty good. The only thing that really gets to me though, is when I search for information on the CC130 Hercules crash on October 30,1991 on any web sight or the net I really can't find much. It really disgusts me. The reason it does is that one of the unfortunate ones was my father (name deleted for privacy). It's as if everyone has forgotten the ones that died that night and their families. Pretty sad when they say he died serving his country and everyone has forgotten......"

".........it has been 15 years but still feels like yesterday..........."

It seems to me that I also am guilty of "forgetting" in the sense that I have not until now, posted a webpage commemorating this sad day in the history of CFS Alert. I have been 'stirred to action'. I assured the young lady that the people who died in that crash have not been forgotten. This page is to that end. Also of note is a display case in the main building in Alert which contains memorabilia relating to the crash. Such things a maps of the crash site, routes attempted by the rescue parties, expended flares, Herc cabin lights, personal baggage tags and tips of the Herc props are displayed for all who pass through.

May those who died serving their country Rest In Peace - they are NOT forgotten.

     Near the end of October 1991 Air Command was involved in the fall Boxtop resupply of fuel to Alert, one of 3 yearly Boxtop operations. The fuel is picked up in Thule Greenland where it is pumped into large fuel bladders on the aircraft (CC130 Hercules). It is then flown to Alert and pumped to large fuel containers located up the hill from the airstrip and near the Station.

     On October 30th, Hercules, tail number 130322, had taken on it's load of fuel at Thule and had been requested to fly passengers on to Alert. The passengers who had arrived from Trenton, Ontario earlier boarded Herc 322 to continue on to CFS Alert. That fatefull day, as 322 was nearing Alert, about 15 kms south flying VFR with the lights of Alert in sight it clipped the top of a hill. Wreckage was strewn over a wide area and the fuel carried in the bladder covered the entire area. When the aircraft crashed, it also caught fire. Of the 18 personnel on board, 4 were killed outright. The pilot later died of exposure. It took 3 attempts for a ground rescue crew to reach the site. The weather had closed in not long after the crash. The ground rescue crew was able to assist the SAR techs who had parachuted into the crash site ahead of them when the weather had cleared. CFS Alert's entire personnel and resources were made available and were commended by the Canadian Forces and the Chief of the Defense Staff in part, "outstanding resourcefulness and the professionalism of all members of CFS Alert in the successful rescue brought credit to themselves, their unit, and the Canadian Forces."

As Google search reveals the fol report by "Wikipedia":
October 30, 1991: An AIRCOM CC-130 Hercules transport aircraft, CAF 130322, c.n. 4192, flying to Canadian Forces Station (CFS) Alert from Edmonton, Alberta via Thule, Greenland, was on final approach to the airstrip. The pilot apparently was flying by sight rather than relying on instruments. The aircraft crashed on Ellesmere Island approximately 18 miles short of the runway, killing 5 of the 18 passengers and crew. Subsequent rescue efforts by personnel from CFS Alert, USAF personnel from Thule, and CF personnel from CFB Trenton, Ontario, were hampered by a blizzard and local terrain. The crash investigation recommended all CC-130s be retrofitted with ground proximity detectors and beefed-up Arctic Survival Equipment. The crash and rescue efforts were the basis of a film called "Ordeal in the Arctic".

Another excerpt can be found in the book "'Alert Beyond the Inuit Lands: The Story of Canadian Forces Station Alert'", author David R. Gray, published by "Borealis Book Publishers", ISBN 1-896133-03-7.

This is the plate on the cairn in memory of the people who perished in a C130 crash in October 1991. The cairn is near the graves of the Lancaster crew on Cape Belknap. The photo is courtesy of Derek Bywater. The inscriptsion reads:
"In memory of the personnel who died in the crash of Hercules 130322 on October 30, 1991.
Capt Couch JP 435 Sqn Edmonton
Capt Trepanier JP, CD CFCC HQ
MWO Jardine JT, CD CFB Trenton
WO Grimsley R, CD CFCC HQ
Mcpl Pitre JR, CD 435 Sqn Edmonton"

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These photos are of the October 30, 1991 crash of a Canadian Air Force CC130 Hercules aircraft taking part in the
fall/winter resupply of fuel and supplies from Thule Air Base in Greenland to Alert. I have not seen any pictures of this
crash scene to this date May 2005. These photos were taken by Frank Edison in the summer of 2001. The Herc
crashed approximately 15 kms south of Alert while on final approach. 4 people were killed outright and 14 injured
in the mishap. Another crewmember later died of exposure at the scene.

Crash site CC130  Crash site CC130 - tail #130322  Crash site CC130  Crash site CC130  Crash site CC130  Crash site cairn construction  Crash site cairn completed 



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