Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1H tail number 67-17626
The Army purchased this helicopter 0768
Total flight hours at this point: 00000884
Date: 04/27/1970 MIA-POW file reference number: 1606
Incident number: 700427261ACD Accident case number: 700427261 Total loss or fatality Accident
Unit: 237 MED DET
The station for this helicopter was Quang Tri in Over Water
Number killed in accident = 3 . . Injured = 1 . . Passengers = 2
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. Army Aviation Safety Center database. Also: 1606 ()
Loss to Inventory
P CPT HILL JOHN RICHARD BNR
CP W1 DG STUDY
CE SP4 DULIN ZETTIE J C KIA
MD PFC LOVE RANDALL WAYNE KIA
SYNOPSIS: John R. Hill never considered another person as an enemy. That is why he chose to pilot Medical Evacuation helicopters and the reason he did not hesitate to pick up anyone who was injured, regardless of nationality, civilian or military. On April 27, 1970, Capt. Hill, pilot; WO Donald G. Study, co-pilot; SP4 Zettie J.C. Dulin, crew chief; and PFC Randall W. Love were the crew of a UH1H helicopter (serial #66-17626, call sign Dustoff 712) conducting a medivac mission when the aircraft crashed into the sea. The helicopter was returning to Quang Tri when it went down. All occupants exited the aircraft safely, although PFC Love went under and was not seen to surface. No one aboard the aircraft was wearing life jackets. The three remaining crewmen began swimming toward flares on the beach. Capt. Hill fell behind and became separated from the other two. Later, during the night, SP4 Dulin and WO Study were separated. WO Study was rescued by a Korean LST in the mouth of Da Nang Bay. On May 3, the bodies of SP4 Dulin and PFC Love were recovered. An extensive search was conducted from April 28, through May 12 for Capt. Hill, but no trace was ever found. He was listed as killed and it was considered that his remains would never be found.
THE SEQUENCE OF EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE ACCIDENT WERE THAT CPT HILL AND WO1 STUDY RECEIVED AN URGENT REQUEST FROM THE 18TH SURGICAL HOSPITAL TO TRANSFER A PATIENT FROM THEIR LOCATION TO THE NSA HOSPITAL AT DA NANG, RVN. THEY DEPARTED QUAN TRI AT APPROXIMATELY 1910 HOURS AND ARRIVED AT DA NANG AT 2010 HOURS AND DELIVERED THE PATIENT TO NSA HOSPITAL. THIS PORTION OF THE FLIGHT WAS UNEVENTFUL. THEY REFUELED AT MARBLE MOUNTAIN AIRFIELD, DA NANG, AND AFTER REFUELING ELECTED TO RETURN TO QUANG TRI EVEN THOUGH THE WEATHER WAS MARGINAL. THEY DEPARTED DA NANG AT 2020 HOURS ACROSS THE HARBOR AND AT APPROXIMATELY 2025 HOURS CONTACTED 67TH MEDICAL GROUP AND TOLD THEM THEY WERE ENROUTE TO QUANG TRI. THEY FOLLOWED THE COAST LINE KEEPING VISUAL CONTACT WITH THE GROUND. THEY WERE FLYING AT AN ALTITUDE OF APPROXIMATELY 300 FEET AND AN AIRSPEED OF 60 KNOTS. AS THEY APPROACHED THE ALPHA UNIFORM PENISULA (COORDINATES AU 8405) THEY TURNED SEAWARD IN ORDER TO FLY AROUND THE COAST. AS THEY TURNED SEAWARD WO1 STUDY ATTEMPTED TO MAINTAIN VFR BY GLANCING BACKWARDS IN ORDER TO SEE THE SHORELINE AND LIGHTS AND ALTERNATELY COMING BACK ON TO INSTRUMENTS. THEY HAD FLOWN FOR A FEW MINUTES WHEN THE CREW CHIEF YELLED THAT THEY WERE CLOSE TO THE WATER AND AT THIS TIME WO1 STUDY LOOKED BACK AT THE INSTRUMENTS AND AT THE SAME TIME TRIED TO PULL IN ADDITIONAL POWER. THE AIRCRAFT IMPACTED IN THE WATER AND ROLLED TO ONE SIDE. THE SIDE THE AIRCRAFT ROLLED ON WAS UNDETERMINABLE. AFTER IMPACT, ALL FOUR CREW MEMBERS EXITED THE AIRCRAFT WITH APPARENTLY NO PROBLEMS. FOR A FEW MINUTES ALL FOUR WERE IN VOICE CONTACT. NONE OF THE CREW WAS WEARING ANY TYPE OF FLOTATION GEAR. PFC LOVE WAS SEEN STRUGGLING TO STAY AFLOAT AND WO1 STUDY AND SP4 DULIN TRIED TO GET TO HIM BUT WERE UNABLE TO BEFORE HE WENT UNDER AND APPRAENTLY DROWNED. AT THIS TIME CPT HILL, WO1 STUDY, AND SP4 DULIN ATTEMPTED TO SWIN TO SHORE. AFTER SWIMMING FOR A WHILE, CPT HILL SEEMED TO FALL BEHIND. WO1 STUDY AND SP4 DULIN YELLED FOR HIM TO CATCH UP BUT HE APPEARED TO BE GETTING FURTHER AWAY. WO STUDY AND SP4 DULIN TRIED TO SWIN TOWARD HIM BUT TO NO AVAIL. WO STUDY AND SP4 DULIN THEN HEARD CPT HILL YELL THAT HE WAS HURT. WO STUDY AND SP4 DULIN WERE UNABLE TO LOCATE CPT HILL IN THE DARKNESS AND THE RAIN. WO STUDY AND SP4 DULIN AGAIN STARTED SWIMMING TOWARD SHORE. SOME TIME WHILE SWIMMING, WO STUDY AND SP4 DULIN FOUND PIECES OF HONEYCOMBING FROM THE MAIN ROTOR WHICH ASSISTED THEM IN STAYING AFLOAT. BOTH MEN TRIED TO STAY TOGETHER BUT SLOWLY DRIFTED APART. WO STUDY WAS CARRIED BY THE CURRENT ALONG THE COAST BUT DUE TO THE TIDES WAS UNABLE TO REACH THE SHORE. THE CURRENT CARRIED WO STUDY INTO THE MOUTH OF DA NANG HARBOR WHERE AT APPROXIMATELY 0630 HRS ON 28 APR 70 HE WAS PICKED UP BY KOREAN LST. WO STUDY WAS THEN PICKED UP BY HELICOPTER AND FLOWN TO THE 95TH EVAC HOSP AT DA NANG WHERE HE WAS TREATED FOR EXHAUSTION AND EXPOSURE. DURING THE NEXT TWO WEEKS CONTINUOUS SEARCH EFFORTS WERE MADE. ON 1 MAY 1970, SIX DAYS AFTER THE ACCIDENT, TWO OF THE CREW MEMBERS BODIES WERE RECOVERED. THE BODIES WERE IDENTIFIED AS THOSE OF SP4 DULIN AND PFC LOVE. TO DATE THE BODY OF CPT HILL HAS NOT BEEN RECOVERED.\\
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