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1979 DC 3 plane crash in the Selway River is the answer for Trivia 556 a special feature to celebrate the history and heritage of Clearwater Country.

Join in the discovery!

Monday: Moose Creek

Tuesday: A defining incident

Wednesday: 12

Thursday: Helicopters

Friday: Special permission

Saturday: From Grangeville

Monday: Selway River

There were 10 passengers and 2 pilots aboard when the DC-3 took off from Grangeville June 11, 1979 to fly into the Moose Creek Ranger District. Unfortunately, only 2 survived after the plane lost both engines. The first engine overheated and the pilots shut it down. The second one lost a piston, which started a fire, the propeller seized and that twisted the engine off of the plane's wing.

The two pilots tried to land the powerless and unbalanced aircraft in the Selway River at Dry Bar, the only straight, quiet section of the river, but fell a few feet short. An investigation showed that the engines had failed due to maintenance errors.

Two of the seasonal workers for the U.S. Forest Service that were passengers on the plane survived. Everyone else on the flight perished, including the two pilots.

Special accommodations were made in this wilderness area for helicopters and other necessary motorized equipment to be used in the search for those who died in the crash. Clearwater County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Back Country Medics (North Idaho Back Country Medical Rescue Team then) Dive Team assisted in the search. They were there for 17 days searching for the bodies.

Besides families and friends of those who died, the incident left an indelible mark on the memories of those involved in rescuing the survivors and searching for those who were lost.

Trivia Archives

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Window on the Clearwater
P.O. Box 2444
Orofino, ID 83544
Orofino 476 0733
Fax: 208-476-4140