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Last updated: 18 October 2021
Date:Thursday 9 November 1961
Type:Silhouette image of generic P2 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Lockheed P2V-7LP Neptune
Operator:United States Navy
Registration: 140439
MSN: 726-7098
First flight:
Crew:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants:
Passengers:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants:
Total:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 9
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Wilkins Station (   Antarctica)
Phase: Takeoff (TOF)
Departure airport:Wilkins Runway (YWKS), Antarctica
Destination airport:McMurdo Station Ice Runway (NZIR), Antarctica
A P2V-7LP Neptune crashed on takeoff from Wilkins Station, Antarctica, where it had refuelled en route back to McMurdo Station. in support of Operation Deep Freeze 1962. Four aircrew and one passenger were killed, with four aircrew surviving. Per en eyewitness report:
"The landing had been so violently rough that it had broken loose the 400 gal internal tank in the bomb bay and the 4" filler pipe was spewing out raw fuel running down the bottom of the plane on take off. At the ignition of the JATO on the t/o run, it acted like a Roman Candle. With the burning of the fiberglass tail cone, all of the acrid smoke was drawn right up to the cockpit and the pilots were blinded. They tried to return to the field and just couldn't make it. The pilot managed to level the wings before they hit and that saved some of the guys."

» US Navy and US Marine Corps Aircraft Serial Numbers and Bureau Numbers--1911 to Present / Joe Baugher
» Passauer Neue Presse 11 November 1961, p.4


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This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Wilkins Runway to McMurdo Station Ice Runway as the crow flies is 2107 km (1317 miles).

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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