C-54 Fuel Transport Down In Alaska (Updated With Video Link)


A C-54 transport carrying fuel crashed a few minutes after takeoff from Fairbanks, Alaska, on Tuesday. The plane, the military version of the DC-4 airliner, was carrying two crew and both died in the crash. The aircraft was owned by Alaska Air Fuel and crashed into the Tanana River about 10 a.m.

Video shows fire erupting on the aircraft before it banked sharply left and descended quickly. “The aircraft slid into a steep hill on the bank of the river where it caught fire. No survivors have been located,” the Alaska Department of Public Safety said in a statement.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. A short video from a security camera of the last few seconds of the flight shows what appears to be a catastrophic failure of the #1 engine (which already looks to already be on fire) followed by an immediate yaw to the left and rapid descent. Condolences to the crew, their families and friends. R.I.P.

  2. Always a sad thing to read about the loss of life and the loss of another of the few vintage aircraft still working.
    Saw a short video that was posted on X that shows this DC-4/C-54 last few seconds in the sky. Looks like one or both right side engines caught fire. The aircraft left wing then starts raising and the aircraft starts a dive to the ground almost at a nose first angle. Everything happening very fast and way to close to the ground to recover.

  3. The C-54’s port wing (left) in the brief video captured on a farm cam, shows fire possibly in the Number#1 engine area as it rolls to the left in the seconds proceeding its plunge into terrain. (not the starboard side as posted above).