On May 16, 1968, USMC CH-53A Sea Stallion #154875 from HMH-462 at Santa Ana crashed while on a mission to install communications relay equipment atop Toro Peak. One of the sixteen men on board was killed in the accident.
This is the start of the Santa Rosa Mountain Road off Hwy 74. The 12.5 mile road leads to the top of Toro Peak, but there's a closed gate about quarter mile from the top.
Saw this sign on a rock.
Further up the road came upon a tree with a stange message. "Like War To U Fire To Me A Tree Is Death". This is kind of creepy.
Found out later that these signs were painted by "Desert Steve" Ragsdale in the early 20th century warning of the fire danger.
Getting near the top. Was happy to find that the first gate was open. This site has been on my list of sites to visit for a few years, finally getting around to it.
Looking up from the area I parked. The gate is a couple hundred feet up the road. It will be about a quarter mile hike to reach the top.
Looking across the helipad towards the peak.
The helipad from above looking east. The plan is to look for wreckage near the peak and follow it down the slope and hopefuly end up back near the truck.
From the edge of the helipad, I could see small pieces of wreckage.
Some of the wreckage that's near the helipad.
This was the most interesting piece in the aera.
Someone collected some of the pieces.
Hiking down a little, came upon the main rotor head assembly. My truck is in the red circle.
What little info I had about the site did mentioned that main rotor would be here. It's more impressive looking than I expected.
Me with the rotor head, this thing is bigger an it looked like from above.
One of the six blade mounts.
Other view of the blade mount.
View of the underside of the rotor head.
I think the gears are part of the blade folding system.
The swashplate assembly.
The bull gear that transferred power from engines to the transmission.
The shaft from the other side.
Me again with a top view of the rotor head.
Looking up at the rotor head as I continue down the slope.
Found partially buried wreckage in a few places. This is a section of the fuselage with part of the landing gear.
Another shot of the same piece showing part of the landing gear.
This piece has aluminum honeycomb with a fiberglass skin.
Small piece of electronic gear.
More buried wreckage.
Lot of stuff scattered on the slope.
This piece of the airframe is about two foot square.
Still following the trail of wreckage down the slope.
Almost to a very large piece that I could see from further up the slope.
I know it's the tail end of the fuselage, but from this angle can't tell what I'm looking at.
Walking around I could make out the tailboom, fin and horizontal stabilizer.
Looking up at the tail section.
This photo shows the section of the tail that is at the site.
The rear section of the fuslage and tailboom.
This one was easy to identify.
This shot shows the hinge for the folding tailboom. The tail rotor driveshaft is also visible.
Closer view of the tailboom hinge.
Photo of a CH-53E with it's tailboom and rotors folded.
Tail rotor driveshaft.
Flex plate on the driveshaft and to the right of it the drivestaft disconnect for when the boom folds.
The end of the drieshaft can be seen at the base of the fin.