Moose Mountain, NH – October 25, 1968

Moose Mountain, New Hampshire – October 25, 1968


     At 5:42 p.m. on October 25, 1968, Northeast Airlines Flight 946 left Boston for Lebanon, and Montpelier, New Hampshire. The aircraft was a Fairchild Hiller FH – 227C, (Registration # N380NE) with thirty-nine passengers and a crew of three aboard; pilot, co-pilot, and a stewardess.

     The flight was originally scheduled to depart at 4:55 p.m., but there had been a delay in getting the aircraft to the gate for passenger loading.

     At 6:08 p.m., the flight was cleared for approach to Lebanon Airport.


     At 6:11 p.m., the crew notified the Lebanon Flight Service Station that they were on a standard instrument approach, and requested a Lebanon weather report. They were advised of overcast conditions and calm winds. This was the last communication with the aircraft. Not long afterwards the plane crashed on the north side of Moose Mountain about 8.2 nautical miles northeast of Lebanon Airport. The impact occurred about 57 feet below the summit.

     In the NTSB Aircraft Accident Report, (NSTB-AAR-70-7) one unidentified surviving passenger described the final moments leading up to the crash.

     “…As we approached Lebanon, the cloud cover had been gradually thinning and before we began our descent, ground had been visible in patches between the clouds for several minutes. On the early part of the descent, the ground continued to be visible. After the turn to the final approach, with the wheels down, we were flying between two nearly vertical cloud banks in the gentle smooth descent which I described in my prior statement.   There was no cloud directly below us, and the level of the base of the clouds at this point was slightly below the level of the aircraft so that the ground was clearly visible under the cloud to a substantial distance ahead and to the side. I was looking out and observed a pond and that the terrain had very few roads and no houses.

     As we continued our descent, I continued to observe and watched the slope of the ground rising ahead of us at about twenty degrees in the direction of the flight. We were so near the ground at this time that I could clearly see the individual trees which appeared fist size and began to look ahead in the direction of the flight for airport approach lights as I assumed that we must be very near the touch down point. I observed the rising ground until I suddenly lost all visibility as we had entered a cloud.

     After a few seconds in the cloud, I felt the initial impact which was gentle and seemed no more severe than a normal touch down. I do not remember any severe impact.”

     According to the report, other survivors described the impact as “smooth”, “not a crash, but more of a settling”, and “a rough landing”.

     Upon hitting the mountain, the plane plowed its way through trees and immediately caught fire after coming to rest. All ten of the survivors were seated in the rear of the aircraft, and managed to escape through the rear service door or by squeezing through openings in the fuselage. In all, seventeen people managed to escape the flames, but seven were fatally injured and succumbed to their injuries before help arrived. The injuries to the remaining survivors ranged from lacerations to broken bones.  

     Darkness, the remote location of the crash, combined with rain and freezing temperatures hindered rescue efforts. Those who could, made their way down the mountain on their own, while the rest were air lifted off by helicopter. The helicopters landed on the green at Dartmouth College, and from there the survivors were transported to Mary Hitchcock Hospital.

   The crash site is located at longitude 72 degrees, 8’.7 west, and latitude 43 degrees 43’.3 north, at an elevation of approximately 2, 237 feet.


     NTSB Aircraft Accident Report, NTSB-AAR-70-7

     New York Times, “32 of 42 On Plane Killed In New Hampshire Crash”, October 26, 1968










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