Facts at last on JAL DC-8 which ditched at SFO

Date:         08 Sep 97 02:03:53 
From:         kls@ohare.Chicago.COM (Karl Swartz)
Organization: Chicago Software Works, Menlo Park, California
References:   1 2
View raw article
  or MIME structure

>>In the 1960s JAL ditched a DC-8 successfully in the bay south of San
>>Francisco.  Landing in fog, the crew made a navigational error and found
>>themselves in the bay instead of on the runway.  Everyone got out a little
>>wet, but the plane was upright and in one piece.  The pilot, shamed, later
>>committed suicide.
>This airplane was purchased by United and I was told that I was aboard it
>when I flew on a DC-8 from DEN to BOS in 1987.  The F/A's called it Tokyo
>Rose.  I enjoyed the flight immensely having been upgraded to First!

I recently acquired Terry Waddington's book on the DC-8 (volume 2 in
the Great Airliners series) and it has the facts on this accident.
It took place on November 22, 1968; the accident aircraft was four-
month old DC-8-82 JA8032 named "Shiga."  The Jet Airlines Production
List shows tt was repaired by United Airlines and re-delivered to JAL
on March 31, 1969 with "Hidaka" as its new name.  It was bought by
AirBC in 1983, Okada Air in 1984, and finally by Airborne Express on
April 22, 1987, for whom it continues to fly as N808AX.

>From Waddington's book:

   JA8032 landed in San Francisco Bay, three miles short of the runway.
   With gear and flaps down, the aircraft landed in about 9 feet of water
   and came to a rapid stop.  It remained completely intact, and everyone
   was rescued.  There were no serious injuries and little panic.  The
   weather was just above the airport minimums, with some fog, a 300-foot
   ceiling, and forward visibility of three-quarters of a mile.  The
   experienced Japanese captain, assisted by two American crew members,
   stated that the decision height of 211 feet had been set on the radio
   altimeter but, when he looked up as the instrument flashed, they were
   almost in the water.  Power was applied, but the rear fuselage struck
   the water and the aircraft settled until the main gear reached the bay
   floor, with the cabin door sills just above the water.


   The aircraft was hoisted out of the water onto a huge barge two days
   later, then taken to the United Air Lines maintenance base at the
   airport.  The cabin was stripped and the entire aircraft flusehd out
   with thousands of gallons of fresh water.  All 36 miles of wiring were
   replaced.  In addition, most hydraulic and other systems, including
   cockpit instrumentation, were overhauled or replaced.  The flaps, two
   pylons plus the left main gear cylinder and bogie were replaced.  The
   engines were in remarkable condition, with only the inlet fan case and
   gear boxed needing replacement due to corrosion.  After four months,
   on April 26, 1969, the aircraft was back in the air, at a cost of $4

Karl Swartz	|Home	kls@chicago.com
		|Work	kls@netapp.com
		|WWW	http://www.chicago.com/~kls/
Moderator of sci.aeronautics.airliners -- Unix/network work pays the bills