The Fall of Saigon

South Vietnamese civilians scramble to board a CIA helicopter during the evacuation of the US embassy in Saigon
South Vietnamese civilians scramble to board a CIA helicopter during the evacuation of the US embassy in Saigon

Historical Context

Dutch photographer Hubert van Es's iconic photo of the evacuation of Saigon shows desperate Vietnamese trying to board one of the last helicopters out of the city on the 29th April 1975 from the US C.I.A building.

It was part of the largest-ever helicopter evacuation, ordered by President Ford and code-named Operation Frequent Wind. It was made necessary after damage to nearby runways at the airport. Over 7,000 people were ferried from Saigon to US carriers out to sea, including US citizens and the Vietnamese who had supported the US effort.

Photo Info


Photographer: Hubert van Es
Date taken: April 30, 1975
Location taken: Saigon, Vietnam

Related Events

  • 1975-04-29 Vietnam War: US begins to evacuate its citizens from Saigon in Operation Frequent Wind in response to advancing North Vietnamese forces, bringing an end to US involvement in the war

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