Information on Air America helicopter 205 tail number XW-PFI
Incident number: 68120777.KIA
Unit: AIR AMERICA LAOS
Casualties = 03 KIA . .
Original source(s) and document(s) from which the incident was created or updated: War Story as related by a witness. Also: Air America KIA related documents, AA Association docs and emails ()
Summary: Pax grabbed his pack and a granade came off and blew up the helicopter.
Loss to Inventory
P PIC FRASER WILLIAM J KIA
FM DYCHITAN BERNARDO L KIA
FM MCCARTHY PATRICK F KIA
There are at least two TWX messages in the Hickler file at the AAM Archives concerning this incident involving Bell 205 XW-PFI. Briefly, it occurred about 12 days into "Pigfat," Vang Pao's operation to retake Phou Pha Thi (LS85). During this period, we had been supplying Meo troops and even directed air strikes in lieu of enough Raven FACs to perform this task. Early in the afternoon of 7 November 1968, William Frazer-PIC, Patrick F. McCarthy-F/M, and Bernardo L. Dychitan-Filipino trainee F/M, landed at Houei Ma (LS-107) or a nearby supply pad (discrepancy in the reports here). While unloading, it is believed that a pin dislodged from a grenade that a disembarking passenger was carrying in a jute sack. The ensuing explosion by the left side of the cargo door triggered other explosions from stacked ordinance. The aircraft was destroyed and entire crew KIA. Because of the intense fire in and around the aircraft, remains were not extracted until 8 Nov. Eight Meo were KIA. Helicopters N8511F and XW-PFF evaced the 13 indigenous WIAs to Sam Tong. Ernie Kuhn claims that he was an eyewitness, but he was at LS-215 which I believe was a little too far from LS-107 to have seen this happen. But then, I wasn't there. There is another irony in this tragedy; Frazer and Campbell were brothers-in-law. Submitted by Dick Casterlin for the Air America Association September, 1999.
This record was last updated on 09/14/1999
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Date posted on this site: 05/16/2021
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