Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of the American West

Lear Jet 24B


A routine charter flight from Palm Springs, California to Las Vegas, Nevada turned into tragedy just minutes after take-off when Lear Jet Model 24B N12MK struck Ten Thousand Foot Ridge in the San Gorgonio Wilderness of the San Bernardino Mountains.

The crash killed Captain Donald J. Weier, co-pilot Jerald Wayne Foley, passengers Mrs. Natalie “Dolly” Sinatra, and Ann Carbone, Mrs. Sinatra’s close friend. The estimated speed at impact was 375 m.p.h. causing the Lear Jet to disintegrate and scattering wreckage over half a mile. The fuel aboard the Lear Jet would have vaporized causing only a brief flash of light obscured by dense clouds that muffled the explosion too. From departure to impact was just over four minutes, and in the time there may have been some confusion between Palm Springs Tower, Los Angeles Center and the flight crew.  The wreckage of N12MK was located on 1/9/77 when the weather improved, and the grim task of recovering the remains was started on 1/10/77.

For detailed analysis of this accident the following reports and articles are recommended: NTSB Repot LAX77AA019,  AFTERMATH, DEPARTURE ROUTE by Richard L. Collins, WHAT IS MIKE KILO DOING? by Arnold W. Scott, and Los Angeles Times 1/11/77 article by Jack Jones. 


In 2010 Todd Loiselle was hiking the rugged and remote Ten Thousand Foot Ridge in the San Bernardino Mountains when he stumbled on scattered and unburned aircraft wreckage.  The photos and GPS site location provided by Todd confirmed that the wreck he found was the ill-fated Lear Jet Model 24B N12MK lost on 1/6/77 en route from Palm Springs to Las Vegas

Shattered cabin window and frame located by Todd Loiselle on his first visit to the crash site of N12MK. This item was missing on Todd’s second trip, and this is very disturbing. Readers are asked to keep an eye out on EBay for any artifacts being offered for sale from N12MK. (Photo courtesy Todd Loiselle)

Exhaust nozzle from N12MK. (Photo courtesy Todd Loiselle)

The color scheme on N12MK white and blue with a piece of unburned blue skin shown here. (Photo courtesy Todd Loiselle)




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