Date 12 May 1968
Operator United States Air Force
Site South Vietnam
Total fatalities 155 (all)
Passenger count 149
|Summary Aircraft shot down by North Vietnamese Army|
Aircraft type Lockheed C-130B Hercules
Similar Air France Flight 212, Pan Am Flight 217, El Al Flight 253 attack, Braniff Flight 352, South African Airways F
The 1968 Kham Duc C-130 shootdown was the loss of a United States Air Force Lockheed C-130B Hercules aircraft during the Battle of Kham Duc on May 12, 1968. All 155 people on board were killed. At the time, it was the deadliest aircraft crash in history.
The aircraft, commanded by Major Bernard L. Butcher, was participating in the evacuation of South Vietnamese civilians from the Kham Duc campsite. The C-130 approached the Kham Duc airstrip from the south and managed to land despite taking hits from opposing North Vietnamese forces. As soon as it landed, approximately 149 South Vietnamese rushed onto the aircraft. Once the aircraft was full, Major Butcher proceeded to take off in a northward direction, unaware that the North Vietnamese were concentrated in that area. According to eyewitness reports, the aircraft, under intense enemy mortar and small-arms fire, shook violently out of control, crashed into a nearby ravine less than a mile from the end of the airstrip, and burned, killing all of the South Vietnamese evacuees and the aircraft's crew of six.
With 155 fatalities, to date, the Kham Duc crash, along with the crash of a USAF Lockheed C-5 Galaxy aircraft seven years later, remain, jointly, the deadliest aviation accidents/incidents on Vietnamese soil.