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URL: http://riceornot.ricecop.com/?auto=89025
Submitted by: Skid
Comments: 22  (Read/Post)     Favorites: 0  (View)
Submitted on: 03-25-2013
View Stats Category: Vehicle Misc
A bus damaged in the Caldecott Tunnel crash and fire of April 7, 1982.


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3-25-2013 @ 12:34:32 PM
Posted By : Skid Reply | Edit | Del
At 12:12 AM on April 7th of that year, a 34 year old bookkeeper from San Leandro entered the Caldecott Tunnel on California State Route 24, between Oakland and Orinda. She had a blood alcohol level of 0.17, well above the level limit. At some point, she attempted to change to the left lane, and struck the left curb in her 1978 Honda Accord. She veered between the two lanes before coming to rest in the left, and, with her emergency flashers on, got out to survey the damage.

Coming up behind her was a double tanker from the Armour Oil Company...a 1977 Kenworth fixed tanker with a 1977 Clough trailer, both full of gasoline. It was followed by a 1975 Grumman Flxible AC Transit bus, which was out of service with only a 55 year old driver on board. The truck hit the stalled Honda and its driver, and the bus hit the truck, splitting open the trailer and igniting a fire. The driver of the truck, who wasn't injured, escaped. The driver of the bus was thrown from his vehicle and killed.

3-25-2013 @ 12:46:46 PM
Posted By : Skid Reply | Edit | Del
#1, The bus continued, driverless, for another several hundred feet with its throttle stuck open until it crashed into a support column at the edge of the tunnel at its governed speed of 68 mph.

The bus had been followed by a blue 1965 Ford pickup, driven by a 31 year old from Orinda and his 58 year old mother. The pickup driver got out to help, and when he noticed the fire (small at the time), he ran back to his truck and reversed at high speed to a call box not far behind. He got out to use the phone while his mother stayed in the truck. A beer truck (make, model, and year not named in the report) stopped behind them, driven by a 53 year old from Sepulveda and a 30 year old hitchhiker from Granada Hills. Both started to get out, but as the tunnel filled with thick smoke, they shut their doors and stayed in the vehicle. The Ford driver, unable to find his own vehicle in the smoke, ran for the exit. His mother, and both occupants of the beer truck, died afterward of smoke inhalation.

3-25-2013 @ 12:58:10 PM
Posted By : Skid Reply | Edit | Del
#2, A 1980 Toyota pickup, driven by a 32 year old carpenter from Alameda, entered the tunnel. Seeing the billowing smoke, he attempted to reverse out, but was stopped a car behind him, a 1980 Pontiac (model not mentioned in the report) driven by a 68 year old retired man and his wife from San Francisco. They were attempting a multi-point turn to drive out of the tunnel forwards, blocking in the Toyota. The Toyota driver abandoned his vehicle as the smoke got thicker and made it to the exit. The elderly couple were killed by inhalation before they could get their vehicle turned around.

Explosions in the tunnel followed. Due to the ventilation system not working correctly, the tunnel became a chimney, with temperatures at the accident site as high as 1,800 F. Massive fire damage occurred in the north tube where the accidents occured, necessitating its closing for several months afterward, repairs cost $3 million.

All told, seven were killed...two in the crash, five from smoke inhalation.

3-25-2013 @ 01:17:52 PM
Posted By : ricerocketboy Reply | Edit | Del
That's pretty scary. Where do you get all your info about historic accidents?

3-25-2013 @ 01:22:48 PM
Posted By : Sensekhmet Reply | Edit | Del
What a damn mess.

3-25-2013 @ 01:28:31 PM
Posted By : DiRF  Reply | Edit | Del
It's tragic, but it could have been a lot, LOT worse if it had happened at a busier time.

3-25-2013 @ 01:49:50 PM
Posted By : Skid Reply | Edit | Del
#4, I initially read about them on Wikipedia, then Google .pdfs of the official NTSB reports, which are public domain.

I'll probably do one for the 1967 Silver Bridge collapse next.

3-25-2013 @ 02:27:09 PM
Posted By : ricerocketboy Reply | Edit | Del
#7, sweet :)

3-25-2013 @ 03:00:40 PM
Posted By : wannabemustangjockey Reply | Edit | Del
I've known about this for a long time but have never seen pictures of it before. Thanks for posting. If I recall correctly, it occurred in the middle bore (there are 3; the middle one changes direction depending on traffic congestion). It's the only one which has lost all of its tiles on the walls.

...Incidentally I just drove through the Caldecott Tunnel about 30 minutes ago to visit a friend who lives in Oakland. Guess I'll find out if my recollection is right when I head home.

3-25-2013 @ 03:15:52 PM
Posted By : Skid Reply | Edit | Del
#9, Incidentally it's one of only three photos I've managed to find of the incident, along with another of the bus still stuck to the pillar it struck and another limited view of some of the fire damage. They're below:


3-25-2013 @ 06:34:07 PM
Posted By : Low-Tech Redneck Reply | Edit | Del
#7, There's only ever been one NTSB report to cover a disaster in my area, the 1993 crash of a Beechcraft that hit just below the peak of Mt Nittany here in town. In the summer, if you know where to look, you can still see the hole in the forest on the mountain where it crashed, as it hasn't completely filled back in yet.

Not much exciting, CFIT - pilot attempted a non-visual instrument approach to the airport at night and in poor weather (it was snowing), descended below safe minimums and hit the mountain about 3-5 miles off on the south side of the glide path for the airport. He should never have tried to land in those conditions.

THe crash happened behind the house of one of my high school teachers who went and took pictures of the site shortly after the crash, including the bloody crater the pilot's body left in the snow, because the impact was at such an angle that it ejected him out the cockpit window.

3-25-2013 @ 07:28:41 PM
Posted By : wannabemustangjockey Reply | Edit | Del
The bus had to have been travelling westbound in the northernmost bore. It came out of the tunnel, veered to the left and plowed through the guard rail into the concrete column of a service road that crosses over the highway.

I drove back via the middle bore of the tunnel this afternoon and traffic was heavy, I never got up above 20 mph. It was a bunch of people rubbernecking because an eastbound red mid-90s Chevy C3500 dually towing a double-axle trailer had gone off the freeway east of the tunnel and slammed pretty hard into a eucalyptus tree on the shoulder.

Speaking of local plane crashes, in 1946 a C-45 cargo plane crashed into the side of Mt. Diablo. http://www.check-six.com/Crash_Site..._crash_site.htm
More notably, this crash of a Fairchild F-27 just outside my town in 1964 was caused by a man who got into the cockpit and shot the pilots. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacifi...ines_Flight_773

3-25-2013 @ 07:30:49 PM
Posted By : wannabemustangjockey Reply | Edit | Del
Amusingly, my dad nearly bought a 1969 Charger R/T once (as in 1970s or '80s) that had curious damage on the front corner and quarter panel but was otherwise in good condition. The owner was selling because he had lost control in the Caldecott Tunnel doing 100 mph (speed limit is 50). Not much room to correct a skid in a tunnel two lanes wide with a car that big. Oops.

3-25-2013 @ 08:20:06 PM
Posted By : Low-Tech Redneck Reply | Edit | Del
#12, Woah, freaky, that's the exact same model of Beech that was involved in the crash here, except it was the civilian, not military version.

Either way, it was a charter cargo flight and the only casualty was the pilot.

3-25-2013 @ 09:58:13 PM
Posted By : Skid Reply | Edit | Del
#12, Here's an interesting seven-minute video on that latter crash....includes original footage and pictures, and the audio recording of the co-pilot's last radio transmission while being shot.


3-25-2013 @ 10:46:11 PM
Posted By : Low-Tech Redneck Reply | Edit | Del
#15, Interestingly, that was not the only commercial air crash directly attributable to a passenger crashing the plane in a murder/suicide.

The crash of PSA flight 1771 in 1987 was almost identical, with a disgruntled passenger shooting the flight crew and then crashing the plane, the murder weapon in that case was also a .357 magnum revolver.

3-25-2013 @ 11:23:41 PM
Posted By : DiRF  Reply | Edit | Del
#16, Thankfully this similar incident did not succeed for the assailant.

3-25-2013 @ 11:38:13 PM
Posted By : Skid Reply | Edit | Del
#17, I read the excellent article on Damn Interesting about that one some time back.


3-26-2013 @ 12:11:56 AM
Posted By : Low-Tech Redneck Reply | Edit | Del
#18, I've seen a number of stories/recreations about that incident, and I'm always amazed at the nonchalant way the Captain of that aircrew recounts in interviews that, during the dive, he looked down at his ASI (airspeed indicator) and noticed that it was pegged, above the "Vne" limit (That is, velocity to never exceed) as the plane isn't TESTED to STAY TOGETHER at that speed....

While inverted..........

While bleeding from a hole in his skull.......

And paralyzed on one side of his body......

And he managed to land in one piece.......

The word 'badass' somehow fails to do it justice.

3-29-2013 @ 08:14:27 AM
Posted By : stang392 Reply | Edit | Del
Only crash I know of around here

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