Three civilians died and ten Los Angeles firemen were injured on the drizzling Sunday morning of February 8, 1976, when engine trouble forced the pilot of a Mercer Enterprises DC-6 charter aircraft to attempt an emergency landing at Van Nuys Airport.

Losing power, the four engine aircraft - with only a flight crew aboard, pancaked onto the Woodley Golf Course near the airport. The aircraft skipped a quarter-of-a-mile across the fairways, smashed through a starter's shack and stopped near Victory Boulevard and Havenhurst Avenue.

First-arriving Los Angeles firefighters thought they heard voices in the smashed cockpit. As a firefighter prepared to use a rotary saw to cut into the cockpit, other firefighters laid a foam blanket and stood by with foam and water supply lines.

The saw, striking a stainless steel fitting ...

We encourage you to learn more about this incident, and view dramatic photos of this and other significant LAFD events by visiting the Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Archive at:

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department
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