Smithfield, R.I. – October 13, 2016

Smithfield, Rhode Island – October 13, 2016

     On the morning of October 13, 2016, a private corporate jet with four passengers and two crew aboard left Allegheny County Airport in Pennsylvania bound for North Central State Airport in Smithfield, Rhode Island.  The aircraft was a Cessna Citation,  tail number N518AR.   

     The plane arrived at North Central at about 10:30 a.m. and was attempting to land on Runway 5 when it  overshot and crash landed in brush filled area.  The plane suffered damage, but there was no fire and nobody was hurt.  The four businessmen aboard were in Rhode Island to attend a meeting in Providence.   

     The photographs attached to this post are courtesy of Jim Grande Jr., of the Smithfield Fire Department. 

     Click on images to enlarge.

Smithfield, R.I. – October 13, 2016

Smithfield, R.I. – October 13, 2016

Smithfield, R.I. – October 13, 2016


     Providence Journal, “Jet travelers Make Business Meeting After Plane Scare In Smithfield “, October 13, 2016

     Pittsburgh’s Action 4 News, “Flight From Allegheny County Airport Crashes On Landing In Rhode Island”, October 13, 2016

     WJAR Turn To 10 News, “Small Plane Runs Off Runway At North Central State Airport”, October 13, 2016

South Kingstown, RI – July 1, 1941

South Kingstown, Rhode Island – July 1, 1941 

Matunuck Beach

     At about 11:30 a.m., on July 1, 1941, a small airplane with a man and a woman aboard left Newport Airport bound for New York City.  The woman was Miss Eleanor Young, 23, and her companion was Nicholas S. Embirieos, 31.   Both were known in society circles.

     As the plane flew across Narragansett Bay it encountered fog conditions.  Embirieos, who was at the controls, circled the area of Matunuck Beach several times before the aircraft suddenly crashed into the water just off shore of Matunuck Beach, a popular swimming area in South Kingstown R.I.  Both occupants were pulled from the wreck by lifeguards, George Gilson, and David Smith, but died of their injuries. 

     A photograph of part of the plane wreckage can be found on page 53 of the book, “Images Of America – South Shore Rhode Island”, by Betty J. Cotter, 1999.


     New York Times, “Eleanor Young Dies In Air Crash; Was One Of First Glamor Girls”, July 2, 1941

    The Daily Times, “Socialite, Friend Killed In Plane”, July 2, 1941

Block Island, R.I. – August 26, 1995

Block Island, Rhode Island – August 26, 1995

Town of New Shoreham

     On August 26, 1995, a Cessna 185 (N4944E) took off from East Hampton, Long Island, New York, bound for Block Island.  The aircraft was a seaplane capable of water landings.

     There were four people aboard, a 52-year-old pilot and three passengers in their 20s.  

     The plane arrived at Block Island shortly after 1 p.m. and attempted to land at Old Harbor Beach, touching down about 400 feet from shore and heading towards land.  After traveling about 100 feet the pilot aborted due to rocks and swimmers in the area.  The airplane leveled off at 15 feet and continued towards shore where it rose again to clear a building and some electrical wires.  After clearing the first set of wires, the plane settled downward and caught a second set of wires.  It then dove towards a restaurant known as G.R. Sharkey’s which also had an attached gas station.  One of the aircraft’s pontoons slammed into a car occupied by a 79-yrear-old woman who was parked at the gas pumps, before crashing into the restaurant and bursting into flames.  The woman and three people aboard the plane died at the scene.  One male passenger aboard the aircraft managed to free himself from the wreckage, but later died of his injuries at Rhode Island Hospital.   

     Fortunately the restaurant was fairly empty at the time of the crash, and no patrons or employees were hurt.  

     This incident remains the worst aviation disaster to occur on Block Island.


     National Transportation Safety Board accident report brief – #NYC95FA203 

    New York Times, “Plane Hits Block Island Restaurant, Killing 5”, August 27, 1995

     New York Times, “Small Town tries To Get Over Shattering Plane Crash”, August 28, 1995

     New York Times, “Last 3 Victims Identified In seaplane Crash”, August 29, 1995

Middletown, R.I. – May 25, 1998

Middletown, Rhode Island – May 25, 1998


      On May 25, 1998, a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza with four people aboard took off from Nantucket, Massachusetts, bound for Connecticut when it developed engine trouble while in-route.  The nearest airport at the time of the trouble was Rhode Island’s Newport State Airport, which is actually in Middletown, Rhode Island.  As the plane was making its approach, it crashed into a tree at the edge of a field off Jepson Road in Middletown and burst into flame.   Two people in the rear of the plane managed to escape, but the two in front perished.   The survivors were transported to Newport Hospital and were later transferred by helicopter to hospitals in Massachusetts.


     Providence Journal, “Middletown Plane Crash Kills Two, Injures Two”, May 26, 1998 

     Westerly Sun, “Plane Crash Leaves Two Dead”, May 26, 1998





Providence River – July 27, 1913

Providence River – July 27, 1913


Jack McGee in his "Kite"  Pawtucket (RI) Historical Society Photo

Jack McGee in his “Kite”
Pawtucket (RI) Historical Society Photo

     On the evening of July 27, 1913, Rhode Island aviator Jack McGee was making flights from Crescent Park in East Providence, Rhode Island.  After making a solo flight at 5:30 p.m., he landed and took off again with his younger brother Robert as a passenger.  At about 6:30 McGee then made a third flight, this time with an unidentified friend as a passenger.  As the plane headed out over the Providence River a chain to one of the propellers suddenly snapped and the aircraft began to fall.  There was nothing that McGee could do, and the plane dove nose-first into the river just off the Bullock’s Point Lighthouse, and sank to the bottom taking both men with it. 

     Fortunately the water was only 20 feet deep.  McGee was able to free himself, and then assisted his passenger from the tangled wires of the wreck, and both made it to the surface with relatively minor injuries.  The aeronauts were rescued by a passing boat and brought to shore.   

     The Bullock’s Point Lighthouse was destroyed by the Hurricane of 1938.   

     Source: The Providence Journal, “Two In Aeroplane Fall Into The Bay”, July 28, 1913.  (Article provided by Patricia Zacks.)

Narragansett Bay – May 25, 1913

Narragansett Bay – May 25, 1913


    early biplane On May 25, 1913, a Providence baseball team was playing against another team from Jersey City, New Jersey, at a baseball field that overlooked Narragansett Bay.  Part of the post-game festivities included a flight exhibition given by aviator Harry M. Jones, who was locally famous for being the first to fly mail from Boston to New York.  

     Just after 5:00 p.m., his bi-plane was maneuvered to the area of first base in preparation for take off.  As “cargo” Jones was taking along a box of baseballs, which he planned to drop from the air to players on the field. 

     From the start Jones seemed to be having trouble getting the motor to start and keep running, but after several attempts he was successful, and took off in view of several thousand spectators.  After circling the field a few times at an altitude of 50 feet, he began getting ready to  drop the baseballs when the engine suddenly quit.  As the plane began loosing altitude, Jones tried to restart the motor but couldn’t.  His glide path was taking him directly towards the huge crowd of people on the ground who at that point were beginning to scatter in all directions.  Fortunately Jones had just enough altitude to swing the aircraft towards Narragansett Bay, where he crashed into the water and sank with his plane.  Several seconds later he bobbed to the surface, shaken and bruised, but otherwise unhurt. 

     It took four hours to recover the plane from the water.   

     Jones was involved in a more serious crash in Narragansett, Rhode Island on August 9, 1914.  For more details, see Rhode Island Civil Aviation Accidents on this website.         

     Source: The Providence Journal, “Jones, In Biplane, Plunges Into Bay”, May 26, 1913.  (Article supplied by Patricia Zacks.)      


T.F. Green Airport – October 20, 1999

T.F. Green Airport – October 20, 1999

     On the evening of October 20, 1999, a Delta Airlines jet, (Flight 2049), en-route to Atlanta, Georgia, was taking off from T.F. green Airport in Warwick, Rhode Island, when a tire blew out as the plane was becoming airborne.  Pieces of the tire were sucked into the number 2 engine setting it on fire and causing some smoke to filter into the cabin.

     At 6:28 p.m. the pilot declared an emergency and diverted to Boston’s Logan Airport, for it would have taken just as long to turn around and attempt to return to Green.  (This type of aircraft can fly with just one engine.)  Seventeen minutes later the plane landed safely at Logan at 6:45 p.m. 

     None of the passengers and crew aboard were injured, but two women were transported to a local hospital; one for anxiety, the other due to suffering a seizure.  

     The aircraft involved was a McDonnell Douglas MD-80.   


     Providence Journal, “Jet Forced To Land At Logan After leaving T.F. green”, October 21, 1999   

     Westerly Sun, “Blown-out Tire Caused Plane Engine problems”, October 22, 1999, pg.7

     Providence Journal, “Flight 2049: The Fire, The fear And The Anger”, October 22, 1999, Pg. 1


Westerly, R.I. – July 2, 1978

Westerly, Rhode Island – July 2, 1978

     Shortly before 8:30 p.m. on the evening of July 2, 1978, a Cherokee Six took off from Westerly Airport with two men and two women aboard bound for Poughkeepsie, New York.  Heavy fog covered the area making flying hazardous.  When the plane was about four miles from the airport it crashed and burned in a pasture near East Avenue, about 200 yards from a residential development.  All aboard were killed.  Their identities were not given.    

     Source: The Schenectady Gazette, “Plane Crash In R. I. Kills All 4 Aboard”, July 8, 1978

West Greenwich, R.I. – May 22, 1976

West Greenwich, Rhode Island – May 22, 1976  

     At about noon time on May 22, 1976, a helicopter carrying Rhode Island’s Governor Phillip Noel, and a pilot, Thomas Shortall, left T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, Rhode Island, and landed at the Warwick Mall about three miles away.  At 12:15 p.m., the helicopter took off again bound for the Alton Jones Campus of the University of Rhode Island, located in West Greenwich, where the Governor was scheduled to address the American Federation of Teachers. 

     The helicopter was scheduled to land in a hay field on the campus, where a police car awaited to transport the Governor to his scheduled talk.  As the helicopter was making its final approach at an altitude of about 200 feet, it suddenly lost the tail rotor and fell into the woods surrounding the field.  

      Both the Governor and Mr. Shortall were admitted to Kent County Hospital in Warwick, with non-life-threatening injuries.   The helicopter was wrecked.


     (Del.) Wilmington Sate-News, “Rhode Island Governor Hurt In Copter Crash”, May 23, 1976 

     (Ct.) The Day, “Governor Noel, Pilot Suffer Injuries In Helicopter Crash”, May 24, 1976

Middletown, R.I. – August 3, 1937

Middletown, Rhode Island – August 3, 1937


1930s map showing the former location of the airport in Middletown, R.I.

1930s map showing the former location of the airport in Middletown, R.I.

     On the morning of August 3, 1937, Everett Johnson Peck Jr., of New York, flew his private airplane from Bridgehamption, Long Island, to Newport Airport, in Middletown, Rhode Island.

     The airport currently known as Newport State Airport was opened n 1967, and is not the same Newport Airport that Mr. Peck flew to.  That airport was located on the shore of Narragansett Bay in the town of Middletown, and no longer exists. (See map – click on image to enlarge.)   

     Mr. Peck arrived at the airport safely.  At about noon time, he decided to take off again to view the start of the America’s Cup Race, however he crashed on takeoff and was taken to Newport Hospital with serious injuries.    

     The type of plane was not stated.

     Source: New York Times, “E. J. Peck Jr. Injured”, August 5, 1937

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