On the night of April 22, 1974, Pan Am flight 812 departed Hong Kong on a regular scheduled flight to Denpasar, Bali, the first leg of a route that was meant to stop in Bali, Australia, Fiji, and Hawaii before arriving at its final destination in Los Angeles. But the plane never made it out of Bali.
At around 10:26 p.m. local time, the Boeing 707-321B, registered N446PA with the name of Clipper Climax was on its final approach into Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar. The craft was flying at an altitude of 900 meters when it crashed into the 1,200-meter high Mount Mesehe 68 kilometers northwest of the airport.
A navigational error, possibly caused by malfunctioning instrumentation, caused the pilot to make a premature righthand turn, which led to the impact with the mountain. The crash location was in a steep, densely jungled area of an inactive volcano. Due to the difficulty of the terrain it took a full day for anybody could get to the site. Unable to access the area by helicopter, 300 Indonesian army personnel ascended the mountain by foot to recover the bodies. No survivors were reported, and just 43 out of 107 passenger and crew’s bodies were recovered.
A monument to all lost in the devastating crash was established shortly after on the remote banks of the Ayung River, near the sacred Padang Galak beach. Over the intervening 40 years it was largely forgotten about and deteriorated.
A passenger aboard the flight was Maurice Raymond, the Corporate Vice-President for Food & Beverage of Hilton International and in 2014 the memorial underwent restoration by workers from the Conrad Bali Resort and Spa, part of the Hilton network. It now has its own Pemangku, or guardian, who lovingly looks after the site.
Know Before You Go
As you pass the entrance of the abandoned Taman Festival park, continue on and turn left at the beach. Turn left at the temple and it's toward the back near the river.