DC3 Crash Site

Between Divide Lake on the Divide Lake Trail and the Okanagan Mountain Summit, you will pass the 1950 DC3 crash site.   The DC3 that crashed carried 18 individuals.

Divide Lake Trail Info

Divide Lake North Trail Sign

Divide Lake North Trail Sign

The 16 passengers survived but the pilot and co-pilot died.  The Plane is said to have clipped some trees very close to the tower and hit the ground north east of Divide Lake.  The survivors were rescued by a local Search and Rescue Team via the Kettle Valley Railway from Naramata and taken to Penticton.  There is no trail to access the site.

The DC3 before the fatal crash of 1950 on Okanagan Mountain

The DC3 before the fatal crash of 1950 on Okanagan Mountain

In 2005 I looked for the crash site on Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park but could not find a trace of it.  I think the 2003 firestorm cleared any remains of it out.

*******Update, read throught the dozens of comments below to find gps latitude and longitude for the crash site and information like this, ”

Comment: Hi everybody:

Here’s an update that some of you may be looking for as to whether the wreckage still exists.

Yes it does. I went up there on the 29th of July, 2013 and found it after many grouling hours of hiking. Some of the GPS coordinates above are not correct, which caused me to hike more then I had hoped for in order to find it, however I did continue on and using the coordinates from another web site, I was able to find it. The correct coordinates are: (I stood in the middle of the wreckage site and marked a waypoint with my GPS so I knew it would be unmistakable) N 49°43.553′ x W 119°35.130′

The best way to get to the wreckage (in my opinion) is to go to the first right hand corner on the road after the 7KM marker (its about 2-300 feet past the marker). You can’t miss it as someone has piled up a little pile of rocks on the east side of the road to mark the corner. From there start heading south-east following your GPS to the coordinates listed.

It will take you about an hour and a half of hiking (from the rock pile) to get there. Also, as a warning, the hiking is VERY hard, and if you are not a strong hiker I recommend you don’t tackle this hike. If you do, at least be with a few other persons for safety, and leave yourself plenty of rest time. This is a forest that has many downed trees from the fire, and much new growth which is about 8 to 10 feet tall.  Not to mention that you will be going through 2 or 3 valleys depending on what path you take which all consist of large rocks and boulders. There is absolutely no path into it so you just have to keep heading in the direction of the coordinates until you get there. Also, be aware that this area is very active with wildlife. On my hike I came across an 8 point buck (his rack was huge!), a doe, a moose, and her baby. All of which caught me off guard and scared the hell out of me each time. Make sure you wear good boots and long pants as you be rubbing up against muc  h undergrowth and downed branches. And make sure you bring lots of water, you’ll be needing it.

As for the crash site, I found one engine, one wing section, one propellor, and a bunch of other debris strewn all over the place. Most of it looks as though it has been untouched by the forest fire. I did take a bunch of pictures, and agree with others about not posting them, however I also don’t think everyone could do this hike so I will probably send them to whoever asks me and I may post them elsewhere on the internet and provide a link later.

I did not try to get to the tail section, so if you want to see that you’ll have to reference the other posts above and find it yourself.

Hope that helps some of you wondering if it still exists. Good luck if you tackle the hike yourself.  🙂

”  “A few of us went today and found the crash site. Nothing has changed at the site except that it is a lot more open and you can see in all directions for a long way. It is still tough slugging to get there. The fire did very little, if any, damage to the components that are there. We were thrilled to find the fuselage/tail section on our way back out. We had never seen this before on any of our previous trips.”

Comments (44)

  1. The DC3 crash site is not at the peak where the cellphone towers are (though 2 planes have crashed there) but 600m SEE of one the switch backs on the Divide Lake trail ( I think the first one.)

    There was not much left pre 2003, aluminum wings, parts of the fuselage, and a couple of tires. It is between the junction of 2 small creeks. i recall a short steep drop to get down to & crossing the creek. I doubt if anything would have survived the fire.

  2. location from general memory & local knowledge of a hike done several times, but at least a decade ago. Viewed on Google Earth with the caveat that it may not be exactly accurate.
    Location : 49°44’30″N, 119°34’44″W

  3. Hey Rob! Thanks a million. After speaking to a couple of hikers who said they were at the DC3 crash site, my group and I scoured the area that we were directed to for about 2 hours. Your location sounds much more plausible – specially with the coordinates! I think there will be nothing left but I’ll still try to get up there some time to see for myself. Should be fun.

  4. i was just up here, and curious about the crash site. i had no idea where to look, and so didnt find it. i also suspected it may have been erased by the fire.

  5. Chay "bushiologist"  |  

    Hey awsome info. I’ll use the coordinates and see if i can find anything. been planning a big one thru the area and it will be fun to try to find anything that might still be around. The plan is to do the divide trail then cross over get to the kvr make our way to the highlands trail its guna be fun. 🙂

  6. that sounds like it will be a sick hike. i think im headed into ok mtn. park this weekend, but not to divide lake. maybe wildhorse canyon.

  7. ahhh, bummer. I have to work Sunday night. Look for ticks, I hear they are out already. Funny thing is though, I thought the ticks don’t come out until it stops freezing??? Let me know after you get back if you had to pick any off.

  8. we ended up at specs lake, not even close to ok mtn park. the weather wasn’t supposed to be so nice, and we figured if we go up in evevation, then we’d get snowed on instead of rained on. we dis get snowed on. we took the trusty backroads mapbook and left highway 33 on philpot rd., headed north and explored around ideal lake, grizzly swamp, and the dee-beaver lake chain. camped at the small, frozen Specs Lake. roads were in good condition (except very washboardy going down beaver lake rd into winfield) and you could almost get a 2wd around that whole curcuit, except for a few floody areas. fell asleep in the tent listening to wolves howl and the ice on the lake shifting, bubbling and cracking. i’ve got .gpx if you want.

    • Brad Anderson  |  

      The tail section is 1.4 mm from robs coordinates. Itcan be found at exactly
      N 49 degrees 43.435 W119 degrees 34.450
      what I am still looking for is the main fusilage section which should
      still be Intact. I have used binoculars and scoped the area rob has
      indicated but could not see it. Walking in the forest is extremely hard
      and dangerous due to the fallen trees and overgrowth. Please let
      me know if you have the gps crash site info. It is a big area to search on foot

  9. Hello

    I just went up there using Brad’s coordinates and I also found the tail section. It is in pretty good shape considering its age. I continued SE for anther 1km but did not find the rest of the plane. It gets pretty boggy in that direction. I did see two moose in the area. I came upon the tail directly from the north of its location and didn’t see any sign of the plane there either. It has grown in quite a bit so it is slowing sledding in spots.

  10. hey all. i assume you park on lakeshore and access via the access “road” or the cn trail. how long did it take you to get to the tail site from the parking spot? 3 hours or so? this is on my list, and we’ll cross it off soon.

  11. i went up the divide lake trail starting at the Rimrock park entrance. It is next to the goat farm. it is easier because it takes off some elevation. If you have a good map, i recommend using brad’s coordinates on the bing.com aerial photo map, it should take about 3-4 hours return. About an hour up, an hour down and about 1-2 hours off the trail hiking. If you look for the fuselage section then it could take longer because there is significant growth. I heard that it is about 1km from the tail section, but the person who told me that didn’t know in what direction. I am assuming it is to south of the tail section.

  12. sweet ryan. thanks. i hope it;s nice this sunday. we will look in other directions for the rest of the plane. updates after that.

  13. p.s. in the backroads map book, there is a trail that ends almost exactly on the coordinates of the tail. im sure the “trail” does not exist anymore, but interesting none the less.

  14. i dont mean to be hogging this post but… a few of us will be heading to divide lake friday evening. we have to work till 5, so it will be a little rushed. to make the hike a little different, we will be heading from the south parking area by chute lake. friday night will be camp at divide lake and saturday will be the search for the plane and the return tip back to the truck. other adventurers welcome. the weather looks like it will be more co-operative on saturday than on sunday, so thats the reason for the plan.

  15. we hiked up mtn. goat trail. it took 3.5 hours, and the last 45 min by flashlight, mostly bushwacking after we lost the trail. we camped at divide lake and left for the wreck around 10. it was not easy at all. 1.5 km off the trail as the crow flies, but it turned into just over 2 each way. the wreck was exactly at those coordinates. i felt it was pretty anti-climactic, considering how freaking hard it was. the only savior was the occasional fallen log that formed a 20m bridge. there really is not much left of the plane. just the last few feet of the broken tail. we did find a few 3 foot pieces of aluminum on the way back out, but hard to if they were there from the crash or dropped there by people who got tired of carrying their souvineer. back to divide lake to pick up our packs, then back to the truck at the south parking lot by about 6ish. The south parking lot is kinda tricky to find, but its a rough road to the right, directly across from a fallen chute lake sign. the trail shown in the backroads map book that leads to the site does not exist. bring tons of water.

    • Thanks so much for sharing the incredible trail intelligence guys. The hike to the wreck sounds more difficult than I imagined it! Any pictures? Did the fire go through that area or did it get totally missed?
      Even though many folks do not leave comments, this page is appreciated and used – over 360 pageviews …and counting.

  16. i do have pictures, but maybe checking it out for yourself is part of the suprise. i also have gps routes, but our bushwack route is as good as any other i think. and the fire most certainly did go through this area. if you want pictures really badly, i will post them, but otherwise, i will keep the mystery alive. but i assure you, there is something there. (play twilight zone music now)

  17. Hi I’m not sure how much luck you will have finding any more parts of the plane. A while after the crash they tried to drag some of it out with a cat to north of Gimmell lake. I think they got the engines and some other parts. There wasn’t much left 30 years ago.

  18. Hello

    I just came back after looking for the other crash site. I started again at the Rimrock park entrance and went further up the divide lake trail before heading east off the trail where there is a culvert emptying water runoff into to a tiny trickle creek to the east of the trail. I was going to start looking for the fuselage by starting at tail section and heading south but once i cleared the first ridge i spotted a shining piece of metal off in the distance, it was very similar to finding the tail section. As i got closer, after going through a shallow valley with a small bog pond it turned out to be the fuselage section. Rather lucky. This site has a large wing section, a large intact engine, half a propeller, two landing gear wheels and various other parts of the plane scattered over the clearing. The site has a large, tall rock face boarding the western portion of the site. i also have photos of this site to but i agree with darkest1 that it is more fun to see it in person. If you would like to see a picture of the site as it was back in 1950 there is a photo in the daily courier from their Dec 28, 1950 year in review section. The photo shows how the plane was in relative good condition all things considered. You can find the paper at the downtown Kelowna library microfiche collection. I also read a story online from the archives of the Winnipeg free press describing the events from that day. You can read about it at the following link. http://www3.gendisasters.com/air-disasters/12396/penticton-bc-near-airliner-crash-landing-dec-1950 It sounded like quite the ordeal.

  19. wow dood, thats freakin awesome!! good find. it must be more impressive than the tail section. or at least it sounds pretty cool. any gps coordinates? if so, please share.

  20. Very Cool! Yeah, sometimes pictures just can’t do it justice anyway! This kind of thing is a great thing to find for yourself. You are quite a good researcher / detective Ryan. I searched pretty hard back a couple years but didn’t get too far. I guess the library is often better than Google, eh?

    GPS co-ordintes would be nice but if none, your description above will get some of us goiing on another treasure hunt!
    I also did quite a lot of research on the train wreck marked on the Backroads Mapbook near the Bellevue Creek Trestle but could find nothing. I went on foot and searched a few locations but did not go down into the canyon. I also contacted train experts to try and get a date but could not find anyone with even a date to search further.

  21. It is a little more interesting than the tail site. Unfortunately I don’t have a gps or any coordinates but if you head directly east from a culvert on the divide lake trail which is roughly on the same east west line as the tail section then you should be able to find it.

    Good luck.

  22. Ryan, if you could give more specifics as to how to find the crash site from the road to Divide Lake (after taking Rimrock Rd), it would be most appreciated. Victor Wilson, who found the plane, was one of my favourite teachers in Carmi School when he retired in 1971. Thanks! Anyone with GPS coordinates? I need to show this historical site to my daughter.

    • I have a map i could send you other wise you can use google maps and copy and paste in these co-ordinates.

      +49° 43′ 33.27″, -119° 35′ 11.36″ ***admin note***the corrected co-ordinates are posted below and I will post here as well: N 49°43.553′ x W 119°35.130

      • A few of us are heading up to the crash site this weekend. Tried to find it several times years ago and was successful three times. Never did see a fuselage and will try to find it this time. The original map that the park had, had the crash site indicted on it but it turned out to be a km east of the real location. Needless to say we never found it that first time. I was given coordinates years ago that led us right to the spot but I never wrote them down. [dumb] I have seen the wing and a motor and tail section and and various other parts. Hope there is still something there to see. Will report on our travels when we get back.

        • A few of us went today and found the crash site. Nothing has changed at the site except that it is a lot more open and you can see in all directions for a long way. It is still tough slugging to get there. The fire did very little, if any, damage to the components that are there. We were thrilled to find the fuselage/tail section on our way back out. We had never seen this before on any of our previous trips.

  23. As of July 2011, due to the comments of folks like the guys above, this page has been viewed 1000 times. We steadily receive on average, 1.5 visitors per day on this post. Awesome guys. Thank you all!

  24. Hi everybody:

    Here’s an update that some of you may be looking for as to whether the wreckage still exists.

    Yes it does. I went up there on the 29th of July, 2013 and found it after many grouling hours of hiking. Some of the GPS coordinates above are not correct, which caused me to hike more then I had hoped for in order to find it, however I did continue on and using the coordinates from another web site, I was able to find it. The correct coordinates are: (I stood in the middle of the wreckage site and marked a waypoint with my GPS so I knew it would be unmistakable)
    N 49°43.553′ x W 119°35.130′

    The best way to get to the wreckage (in my opinion) is to go to the first right hand corner on the road after the 7KM marker (its about 2-300 feet past the marker). You can’t miss it as someone has piled up a little pile of rocks on the east side of the road to mark the corner. From there start heading south-east following your GPS to the coordinates listed.

    It will take you about an hour and a half of hiking (from the rock pile) to get there. Also, as a warning, the hiking is VERY hard, and if you are not a strong hiker I recommend you don’t tackle this hike. If you do, at least be with a few other persons for safety, and leave yourself plenty of rest time. This is a forest that has many downed trees from the fire, and much new growth which is about 8 to 10 feet tall. Not to mention that you will be going through 2 or 3 valleys depending on what path you take which all consist of large rocks and boulders. There is absolutely no path into it so you just have to keep heading in the direction of the coordinates until you get there. Also, be aware that this area is very active with wildlife. On my hike I came across an 8 point buck (his rack was huge!), a doe, a moose, and her baby. All of which caught me off guard and scared the hell out of me each time. Make sure you wear good boots and long pants as you be rubbing up against much undergrowth and downed branches. And make sure you bring lots of water, you’ll be needing it.

    As for the crash site, I found one engine, one wing section, one propellor, and a bunch of other debris strewn all over the place. Most of it looks as though it has been untouched by the forest fire. I did take a bunch of pictures, and agree with others about not posting them, however I also don’t think everyone could do this hike so I will probably send them to whoever asks me and I may post them elsewhere on the internet and provide a link later.

    I did not try to get to the tail section, so if you want to see that you’ll have to reference the other posts above and find it yourself.

    Hope that helps some of you wondering if it still exists. Good luck if you tackle the hike yourself. 🙂

  25. Did some research and came up with some interesting things….

    Take the co ordinance that the posters about said were the right ones and punch them into google earth, the fuselage and engine wreckage stand out like a sore thumb. The tail section isn’t as obvious but if you do some googleing you will come across a blog written by a guy named Ryan that posted a photo of his friends sitting next to the tail section. The downed trees they are sitting on match the two downed trees in the google earth imagery.

    A newspaper article based on an archived recount of the incident and what happened to most of the wreckage:

    http://oliverdailynews.com/1950-cp-air-flight-crashes-north-of-penticton/

    A photo collection of the crash site when the rescuers got to the site:

    http://www.oldphotos.ca/archivos/collection.php?collectionID=2&folderID=940306984

  26. I went to the crash site today, as well I went and found the tail section.
    Everything reported above is correct.

    Once off the road it was an hour of bushwacking to get to the crash site and another hour of bushwacking to get to the tail section.

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