Dec. 9, 1969 - 11:53pm



On the above date and time, a C-46 cargo plane made a forced landing in the parking area of Al Lopez field. It came to rest against a utility pole, just 500 feet from a house which was across Himes Ave. Note the bleachers and fence at the left wing tip

Stories were circulated amongst the locals that it carried reptiles and that snakes escaped to roam the neighborhood until they were rounded up.

Part of this is true; read on!


Tampa Tribune article, Dec. 10, 1969, by Thom Wilkerson, Staff Writer
A DC3 cargo plane leaving for Miami crash landed shortly before midnight last night on the property at Al Lopez field just off Dale Mabry Highway. No one was injured and property damage appeared negligible, but in coming down the twin-engine transport clipped power lines and large parts of the west side of Tampa were in darkness.

A gas tank was punctured and high octane aviation fuel spread about the aircraft but there was no fire and Tampa firemen moved to lessen the danger by spreading foam. The fuel was draining into a ditch. The belly landing was soft, prompting one observer to say "it looked as if somebody set it down there with a helicopter."
Airport officials said the crew of three had just unloaded cargo at Tampa International and had taken off for Miami. The plane had just left the runway when for a reason unknown the pilot had to make the forced landing in the driving wind and rain.

Police Sgt. Ed Simmons said none of the crewmen were hurt. They went back to the airport to contact their employer. The company owning the aircraft was unknown last night as was the identity of the crewmen. The company is believed to be a Ft. Lauderdale firm.

Police moved to close off the crash area because of the gas and fumes and took steps to handle traffic difficulties caused by the power failure. The path of the landing brought the plane down across Dale Mabry and the circumstance again caused observers to comment on the pilot's skill or luck. The plane came to rest near Himes Avenue. Both wings were damaged. One wing was about 10 yards from the fence around the baseball field and the other was resting against a power pole. The power pole was not damaged and apparently the slide ended just at that point. Several signs around the area were knocked down.

No one was allowed near the plane. Police blocked Himes from Buffalo Avenue to Tampa Bay Blvd. Gas was still leaking from the tanks after 1 a.m.










The NTSB report below was obtained online from the National Transportation Safety Board website at: This feature is no longer available.

The NTSB probable cause of the crash was mismanagement of fuel.  It doesn't say whether the tanks on the wings had fuel in them, as the article said a total of 260 gallons of fuel in them.  But "mismanagement of fuel" instead of "out of fuel" seems to imply that they contained fuel and for some reason the pilot did not switch to those tanks.

The Curtiss-Wright C-46 Commando was a transport aircraft originally derived from a commercial high-altitude airliner design. It was instead used as a military transport during World War II by the United States Army Air Forces as well as the U.S. Navy/Marine Corps under the designation R5C. Known to the men who flew them as "The Whale," or the "Curtiss Calamity," [2] the C-46 served a similar role as its counterpart, the Douglas C-47 Skytrain, but was not as extensively produced. After World War II, a few surplus C-46 aircraft were briefly used in their original role as passenger airliners, but the glut of surplus C-47s dominated the marketplace with the C-46 soon relegated to primarily cargo duty. The type continued in U.S. Air Force service in a secondary role until 1968. However, the C-46 continued in operation as a rugged cargo transport for northern and remote locations with its service life extended into the Twenty-first Century.

If this had happened after 1998 it probably would have damaged the south end zone of Raymond James Stadium.

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