53 Years ago today: On 18 February 1969 a Hawthorne Nevada Douglas DC-3 crashed near Lone Pine, NV, killing all 35 occupants.

Date:Tuesday 18 February 1969
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC3 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas C-49J (DC-3)
Operator:Hawthorne Nevada Airlines
First flight:1943
Total airframe hrs:48274
Engines:Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 32 / Occupants: 32
Total:Fatalities: 35 / Occupants: 35
Aircraft damage:Destroyed
Aircraft fate:Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:20 km (12.5 mls) W of Lone Pine, CA (   United States of America)
Crash site elevation:3587 m (11768 feet) amsl
Phase:En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Hawthorne Airport, NV (HTH), United States of America
Destination airport:Hollywood-Burbank Airport, CA (BUR/KBUR), United States of America

The DC-3 aircraft left Hawthorne (HTH) at 03:50 PST on a VFR flightplan for Burbank (BUR) and Long Beach (LGB), USA. Last contact with the flight was at 04:06 when the crew contacted the Tonopah Flight Service Station, and requested that their flight plan be opened. At 05:10, some 20 km West of Lone Pine, the airplane impacted the face of a sheer cliff on the east slope of the Mount Whitney at an elevation of 11,770 feet m.s.l. (3587 m). The main body of the wreckage slid down the cliff and came to rest 500 feet back from the cliff.
An extensive ground and air search was launched after the aircraft was declared missing. Due to heavy snow accumulations on the ground, low clouds throughout the search period, and extremely hazardous terrain, the aircraft was not located until August 8, 1969.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: “The deviation from the prescribed route of flight, as autorized in the company’s FAA-approved operations specifications, resulting in the aircraft being operated under IFR weather conditions, in high mountainous terrain, in an area where there was a lack of radio navigation aids.”