Information on U.S. Marine Corps helicopter CH-46A tail number 151909
Date: 03/06/1968 MIA-POW file reference number: 1077
Incident number: 68030666.TXT
This was a Combat incident. This helicopter was LOSS TO INVENTORY
for Troop Insertation , Recon Area.
While in Operations Area this helicopter was at Hover at 0080 feet and 000 knots.
UTM grid coordinates: YC456958
Count of hits was not possible because the helicopter burned or exploded.
Small Arms/Automatic Weapons; Gun launched non-explosive ballistic projectiles less than 20 mm in size.
Systems damaged were: PERSONNEL
Casualties = 04 DOI, 08 WIA . .
The helicopter Crashed. Aircraft Destroyed.
Both mission and flight capability were terminated.
Original source(s) and document(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Defense Intelligence Agency Reference Notes. Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Survivability/Vulnerability Information Analysis Center Helicopter database. Also: 1077, NSC, CASRP, KIAMAIN (Naval Safety Center. Casualty Report. )
Summary: Shot down recovering a CCN team in Laos.
Loss to Inventory
P MAJ SEWARD WILLIAM HENRY BNR
Passengers and/or other participants:
LTC LOPEZ ROBERT, AR, PX, BNR
SYNOPSIS: On March 6, 1968, Maj. William H. Seward, pilot and LtCol. Robert Lopez, passenger, were aboard a US Marine Corps CH46A helicopter (tail # 151909 call sign Yankee Whiskey 17) as lead aircraft in a flight of 2 in company with several other support aircraft on an insertion mission in South Vietnam. Also on board Seward's helicopter were an unknown number of indigenous personnel working with the Special Forces team. While hovering above an 80 foot canopy to insert a the reconnaissance team, the aircraft received moderate small arms fire and began settling. The aircraft continued its descent until the rotor blades struck the trees and the aircraft twisted and fell, coming to rest on the right side in a nose low attitude. Following the crash of the helicopter, both Seward and the co-pilot were helplessly trapped in the twisted wreckage of the cockpit. The personnel who were able to get out of the burning aircraft succeeded in freeing the co-pilot. Maj. Seward was unconscious and trapped in the opposite side of the cockpit. Every effort to free him failed. LtCol. Lopez appeared to be trapped between the aircraft and the ground, and efforts to free him were useless. Once flames reached the cockpit and ammunition began exploding, the men were forced to abandon rescue efforts. Within 30 seconds, the aircraft exploded and was completely consumed by fire. A short while later, the survivors were extracted by rescue helicopters and evacuated. A recovery team entered the crash area about 2 hours later. The remains of one passenger, believed to be those of Lopez were found, but were charred beyond recognition, and it was decided not to attempt recovery. Other remains were apparently destroyed by fire and explosion. The other men reported missing were indigenous, names unknown.
This record was last updated on 09/20/1998
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