Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1H tail number 66-16526
The Army purchased this helicopter 0667
Total flight hours at this point: 00000257
Date: 08/24/1967 MIA-POW file reference number: 0811
Incident number: 670824101ACD Accident case number: 670824101 Total loss or fatality Accident
Unit: 119 AHC 52 AVN
UTM grid coordinates: ZA087831 (To see this location on a map, go to https://legallandconverter.com/p50.html and search on Grid Reference 48PZA087831)
Number killed in accident = 5 . . Injured = 4 . . Passengers = 5
Source(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Defense Intelligence Agency Reference Notes. Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Army Aviation Safety Center database.
Loss to Inventory
G SSG HOLTZMAN RONALD LEE BNR
CE SFC ALLARD RICHARD MICHAEL BNR
AC WO MORRISON RICHARD N RES
P WO WITHERALL DAYTON RES
Passengers and/or other participants:
2LT GOFF KENNETH B, AR, PX, KIA
2LT SCHELL RICHARD J, AR, PX, KIA
MS COLBURN CYNTHIA, RES,
SGM ULP JOHN R, RES,
1LT WALL STERLING A, AR, PX, KIA
On August 24, 1967, a helicopter from the 119th Assault Helicopter Company, 52nd Combat Aviation Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, with nine men on board was returning on low level flight to the Division's base. While flying down the Dak Bla River at an altitude of thirty feet, the helicopter began to turn around to check out a sighting of unidentified persons along the river bank but was apparently caught in a downdraft and crashed into the river. Four on board were rescued and the body of another solider was recovered later. Specialist Fourth Class Holtzman was in contact with the pilot after the crash but was swept away in the swift moving ten foot deep river and was later declared dead/body not recovered. The remaining three were declared missing. The area the men were declared missing was searched by Special Forces personnel from Forward Operating Base 2 but without success. A later search of the area on December 26, 1969, found the river ten feet higher than when the aircraft first crashed into the river. In 1970 Sergeant Allard's next of kin advised the U.S. Army that a CBS film showing U.S. POWs included one individual she believed to be her son. Still photographs from the film were of poor quality and could neither prove nor disprove her statements. Early in 1972 Sergeant Allard's next of kin advised the U.S. Army she had received a telephone call shortly after her son's disappearance and only one word was spoken but the next of kin believed it was Sergeant Allard calling from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She visited Phnom Penh and Vientiane, Laos in late January-early February 1972 and upon her return to the U.S. stated she had seen her son at a Viet Cong prison in Phnom Penh, insisting her son's status be changed to POW. The U.S. Army's investigation of the next of kin's allegations led to a determination that the underground prison at the pagoda which was the site of the alleged sighting was at the historical center of Phnom Penh, open to the public and tourists, and the site of various cultural and religious events. Based on this and other inconsistencies and implausibilities, the U.S. Army concluded the sighting had not taken case as alleged by the next of kin. The next of kin's allegations, sparked by assistance from Rev. Lindstrom of the Save The Pueblo Committee, received national news in the New Hampshire Sunday News, New York Times, the NBC Today Show, Reader's Digest, and other media. An individual that the next-of-kin asserted could verify her story was located in Costa Rica and that individual denied having seen any POWs. In March 1974, Sergeant Allard was declared dead/body not recovered based on a presumptive finding of death. From Report of the Select committee on POW/MIA Affairs United States Senate.
The aircraft was on a low level fight down the center of the Plei Mrong River. The pilot made a turn and cyclic climb over a hilltop causing the airspeed to diminished. The pilot entered a dive to regain airspeed but failed to recover before striking the water nose low. The aircraft sank.
This record was last updated on 09/20/1998
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Date posted on this site: 05/16/2021
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