Gregory Pete, BLM Alaska Fire Service, July 3, 1970
BLM, Alaska Fire Service
Died: July 3, 1970
Four BLM Firefighters and the aircraft Co-Pilot were killed when their DC-3 had an engine failure and crashed during takeoff from the airport in McGrath Alaska. Twenty two of the people on board survived but were seriously injured. This incident is recorded in NTSB #ANC71AA0001. Aircraft Registration was N154R.
The following is from Larry Adams, Regional Fuels Management Specialist, BIA, Anchorage – Larry worked as a smokejumper in the early 70s was a helitack foreman out of ANC-BLM in 1974. Larry was able to confirm the following:
On July 3rd, 1970, a twin-engine DC-3 aircraft owned and operated by Reeder flying Service of Twin Falls, Idaho, crashed and burned shortly after take-off from a runway in McGrath, Alaska. The aircraft was carrying twenty-five Bureau of Land Management forest firefighters, their firefighting equipment, and a crew of two. Copilot Michael Benna and four passengers were killed, fourteen other passengers were injured.