Portal:Deaths

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Deaths on the California Channel Islands


More than 870 historic deaths have occurred on the islands — by accidents, drownings, murders and suicides, and by unexpected circumstances. They are listed island by island, and cross-referenced alphabetically throughout ISLAPEDIA. Odd fatal accidents include death by rollerskating, landslide, carbon monoxide poisoning, horse accident, falling down an elevator shaft, falling off a cliff, being hit by a car or accidentally shot. The most common cause of death on an island is by accidental drowning (boat accident, SCUBA diving, free diving, swimming and snorkeling), followed by fatal aircraft accidents (plane, helicopter and dirigible). Murders have been committed on Santa Catalina (6), Santa Cruz Island (2), the Farallones (2), San Nicolas (1), and Santa Rosa (1) islands. Deaths by natural causes on Santa Catalina Island (City of Avalon) are not included.

29 people have died at three park islands since the creation of Channel Islands National Park in 1980, not including the 88 people killed on Alaska Air Flight 261 off Anacapa Island on January 31, 2000. 34 died in park waters off the coast of Santa Cruz Island on September 2, 1919 when the dive vessel Conception burned to the waterline while at anchor at Platt's Harbor.


ISLAND 16th C 19th C 20th C 21st C TOTAL
ANACAPA ISLAND 3 52 95 150
SAN CLEMENTE ISLAND 6 76 17 99
SAN MIGUEL ISLAND 1 6 28 2 37
SAN NICOLAS ISLAND 2 29 6 37
SANTA BARBARA ISLAND 1 6 2 9
SANTA CATALINA ISLAND 19 272 69 360
SANTA CRUZ ISLAND 12 93 55 160
SANTA ROSA ISLAND 8 11 1 20
TOTAL DEATHS 1 57 565 247 872


CALIFORNIA ISLANDS:

DEATHS: FARALLON ISLANDS

DEATHS: AÑO NUEVO ISLAND


CALIFORNIA CHANNEL ISLANDS:

DEATHS: ANACAPA ISLAND

DEATHS: SAN CLEMENTE ISLAND

DEATHS: SAN MIGUEL ISLAND

DEATHS: SAN NICOLAS ISLAND

DEATHS: SANTA BARBARA ISLAND

DEATHS: SANTA CATALINA ISLAND

DEATHS: SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

DEATHS: SANTA ROSA ISLAND

DEATHS: CHANNEL & ISLAND RELATED


CALIFORNIA ISLANDS TRAGEDIES INVOLVING MORE THAN FIVE CASUALTIES:


  • 88 CASUALTIES — ANACAPA ISLAND
January 31, 2000: Alaska Air Flight 261 crashed into the Pacific Ocean about 2.7 miles (4.3 km) north of Anacapa Island, California, after suffering a catastrophic loss of pitch control. The crash killed everyone aboard: two pilots, three cabin crew members, and 83 passengers — a total of 88 people.


  • 34 CASUALTIES — SANTA CRUZ ISLAND
September 2, 2019: Commercial dive boat Conception burned and sank, killing 33 passengers and 1 crew woman. Five crew survived.


  • 23 CASUALTIES — FARALLON ISLANDS
November 10,1858: Lucas, a 280 gross ton three-masted sailing ship, wrecked in a heavy fog on South Farallon Island. Twenty-three lives were lost. The ship had departed Victoria on October 24 with primarily disappointed gold-hunters aboard.


  • 12 CASUALTIES — SAN MIGUEL ISLAND
July 5, 1943: Liberator Consolidated B-24 E #42-7180 crashed on San Miguel Island's Green Mountain killing all twelve men aboard.


  • 9 CASUALTIES — SAN CLEMENTE ISLAND
July 30, 2020: Drowning deaths of eight Marines and a sailor who sank with their amphibious assault vehicle off were the result of poor training, a vehicle in “horrible condition,” and lapsed safety procedures in a rush to deploy an operational AAV platoon.


  • 7 CASUALTIES — SANTA CRUZ ISLAND
March 8, 1966: A plane, piloted by Wally Bassett of Bassett Flying Service out of Santa Paula, with two guides and three hunters aboard, crashed on the northwest slope of the island prior to landing at the Christy Ranch airstrip. Fog and perhaps unusual winds were blamed for the crash.


  • 7 CASUALTIES — SANTA CRUZ ISLAND
April 9, 1993: Seven drowned in the sinking of the 41-foot fishing trawler, Vil Vana,


  • 6 CASUALTIES — SANTA CATALINA ISLAND
October 17, 1944: Six who survived the crash of Goodyear Blimp USN K-111 into the hills above Avalon were subsequently killed in the ensuing explosion and fire.


  • 6 CASUALTIES — SANTA CATALINA ISLAND
January 30, 1984: Six killed when Leerjet 24 [N44GA] touched down 500 feet down the runway, overran the runway and went over a 90 feet bluff. It caught fire and all six aboard were killed.