Moses Lake Experienced The Deadliest Aviation Accident In Washington State History

With Boeing in the news recently over safety concerns on air travel, it got me thinking about the deadliest aviation accident in Washington State history.

What Was The Worst Plane Accident In Washington State History?

Some may recall this horrific accident because it occurred close to Tri-Cities Washington and I'm sure it sent shockwaves through Washington State and the nation.

Do you recall December 20, 1952, when a tragic aviation accident occurred near Moses Lake, Washington that would go down in history as the deadliest in the state at that time?

The Moses Lake C-124 crash claimed the lives of 87 people out of the 115 on board.

The flight was part of "Operation: Sleigh Ride", an airlift program by the USAF to bring U.S. servicemen home for Christmas from the Korean War.

By Bill Larkins - Douglas C-124A (51-99), CC BY-SA 2.0,
By Bill Larkins - Douglas C-124A (51-99), CC BY-SA 2.0,

However, tragedy struck just seconds after takeoff when the left wing of the Douglas C-124 Globemaster II military transport aircraft struck the ground.

The aircraft then cartwheeled, broke up, and exploded, resulting in the deaths of 82 passengers and 5 crew members.

It was later revealed that critical safety measures such as disengaging elevator and rudder gust locks had not been properly executed before departure.

At the time of the Moses Lake crash, it stood as one of the deadliest accidents in U.S. territory until a collision over the Grand Canyon in 1956 claimed more lives.

The Moses Lake C-124 crash is a sad reminder that safety will always be a concern when it comes to air travel but great strides have been made since that fatal crash in 1952.

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