Narragansett Bay – June 11, 1942
On June 11, 1942, 2nd Lt. William K. Liggett was piloting a P-40E aircraft (Ser. No. 41-25019) as part of a formation training flight with other P-40 aircraft over the Narragansett Bay area. At about 1:45 p.m. his aircraft developed engine trouble and he was forced to look for a place to set down. He chose what he thought to be an open area of beach about one mile northeast of the town of Portsmouth, but as he got closer he realized there were civilians on the beach. Witnesses later told investigators that at the last moment Lt. Liggett abruptly turned towards the water and was killed when the plane crashed into the bay.
The crash was blamed on a problem with the aircraft’s fuel system.
Lt. Liggett obtained his pilot’s rating on April 29, 1942, and at the time of his death he was assigned to the 66th Fighter Squadron based at Hillsgrove Army Air Field, In Warwick, Rhode Island.
Source: Army Air Corps Technical report Of Aircraft Accident, #42-6-11-8