Two Dead Following Crash Involving World War II-Era Aircraft in California

Photo Credit: ERIC SALARD / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.0
Photo Credit: ERIC SALARD / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.0

Two individuals aboard a World War II-era Lockheed Model 12 Electra Junior – better known as the L12 – died when the aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff in southern California. The pair, who haven’t been identified, were embarking on a flight aboard the private utility aircraft from Chino Airport.

Lockheed Model 12 Electra Junior on display outside
Lockheed Model 12 Electra Junior on display at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, 2019. (Photo Credit: Noah Wulf / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0)

Speaking with ABC News, Bryan Turner, a battalion chief with the Chino Valley Fire District, said the crash occurred at around 12:35 PM on June 15, 2024.

The L12, which was taking part in a Father’s Day event, was about 300 feet in the air when it suddenly banked to the left and took a nosedive. It had made it approximately 200 yards from the runway when it went down in a grassy field. Aside from the two who were in the aircraft, no one on the ground was injured.

In a statement, the Yanks Air Museum in Chino, California, said that the aircraft involved had come from the institution.

“At this time we are working with local authorities and the FAA,” the statement reads. “Yanks Air Museum will be closed until further notice as our family deals with this tragedy, and we appreciate your patience and respect for our privacy as we navigate through this difficult time.”

Taking its first flight in 1936, the L12 was a transport aircraft for both civilian and military use. Initially adopted by the US Army Air Crops (UAAC) and Navy, the outbreak of the Second World War saw many civilian units transferred to the Army, along with the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).

The Royal Netherlands East Indies Army Air Force was the primary operator of the L12, acquiring 36: 20 transport variants and 16 that had been modified to train bomber crews. The latter were equipped with machine guns and bomb racks.

Lockheed Model 12A Electra Junior parked outside
Lockheed Model 12A Electra Junior, belonging to the Continental Oil Company, 1940. (Photo Credit: Robert Yarnall Richie Photograph Collection / DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University / Wikimedia Commons / No Restrictions)

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While the cause of the crash is currently under investigation by both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), a fire is said to have been involved.

Clare Fitzgerald

Clare Fitzgerald is a Writer and Editor with eight years of experience in the online content sphere. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from King’s University College at Western University, her portfolio includes coverage of digital media, current affairs, history and true crime.

Among her accomplishments are being the Founder of the true crime blog, Stories of the Unsolved, which garners between 400,000 and 500,000 views annually, and a contributor for John Lordan’s Seriously Mysterious podcast. Prior to its hiatus, she also served as the Head of Content for UK YouTube publication, TenEighty Magazine.

In her spare time, Clare likes to play Pokemon GO and re-watch Heartland over and over (and over) again. She’ll also rave about her three Maltese dogs whenever she gets the chance.

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