Driving north from the main hub of Sanur to the quiet Padang Galak area, a memorial monument of a fatal Pan American flight accident nestled in quite a hidden spot behind abandoned buildings.
In 1974, a Pan American flight flying from from Hong Kong to Sydney with a scheduled transit in Bali, crashed in the bushes of Tiga Mountains near Singaraja, claiming the lives of all 107 passengers aboard.
The crash site was so remote and difficult to penetrate, that the army had to fly in by helicopter. Once their choppers found a flat place to land in the Tiga Mountains, the rescuers had to walk through jungle for two hours then endure a four hour descent by rope down the side of the steep incline until the burning wreckage was reached.
The deadly force of the accident was immediately apparent; body and plane parts were hanging from trees for many meters in all directions, far from the impact sight. What really happened may never be known because the black box – the flight data recorder that could solve the mystery and definitively establish responsibility once and for all – was never found.
The monument can be found by using the narrow dirt road from the main road to the beach. If you have difficulty finding the narrow road, ask any local to direct you to the monument and tell them it’s on Padang Galak Beach in the village of Perbekelan Desa Kesiman. It is still frequently visited by family members of the victims.