Atlantic Ocean – August 22, 1974

Atlantic Ocean – August 22, 1974

 

     On the afternoon of August 22, 1974, a trail race between 12-meter yachts competing for the America’s Cup trophy was taking place about six miles southeast off Point Judith, Rhode Island.  Among the media covering the event were two CBS employees, along with a pilot, aboard a Bell-47 helicopter following the progress of the race from 150 – 200 feet in the air. 

     At about 3:00 p.m., the helicopter suddenly developed control difficulties and spun into the water landing on its side as it hit.  One witnesses was quoted as saying, “All of a sudden, the copter started to whirlybird.”  Just after striking the water the helicopter rolled over upside down and only the bottoms of its pontoons could be seen. 

     Several boats in the immediate vicinity quickly raced to the scene including a U.S. Coast Guard vessel.  The pilot managed to free himself and came to the surface on his own.  As the Coast Guard boat came alongside, Lieutenant David Hosmer dove into the water and pulled a second man from the aircraft.  A civilian from another boat rescued the third.  

     One victim was brought aboard the Coast Guard boat while the others were taken aboard separate civilian vessels.  All three vessels then raced to Point Judith where ambulances were waiting to transport the injured.  One of the victims, a 26-year-old CBS-TV electrician from Des Plaines, Ill. was pronounced dead on arrival at South County Hospital.  The other two men were admitted for treatment, and later recovered.  

     The helicopter was recovered by the Coast Guard.  The cause of the crash was found to be mechanical failure. 

     Sources:

     The Providence Journal, (Massachusetts Edition), “Copter Filming Cup Race Falls; 1 Killed, 2 Hurt”, August 23, 1974, page 1. 

     The Providence Journal, (Massachusetts Edition), Vessels headed For Downed Craft”, August 23, 1974, page 1.

     Westerly Sun, (R.I.), “Two Killed In Rhode Island Waters”, August 23, 1974, page 1.

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Tragedy Mars Cup Race”, August 23, 1974, Page 1 

     Providence Journal Bulletin, “Helicopter Crash Blamed On Control Malfunction”, August 24, 1974, page 10.  

Charlestown, R.I. – July 20, 1974

Charlestown, Rhode Island – July 20, 1974

     On July 20, 1974, a pair of one-man Gyrocopters were flying together over the area of Qonochontaug Beach when one aircraft suddenly lost all power and crashed into the water about 150 feet from shore.  The machine sank, but the pilot was able to fee himself, and was rescued by two college students who happened to be passing by in a small sailboat.  He was shaken, but apparently uninjured. Meanwhile, the other gyrocopter left the area and landed at Westerly Airport. 

     The depth of the water where the gyrocopter had crashed is about 20 feet.  Once the students had deposited the downed pilot on shore, they returned to the wreck site with masks and fins, and dove under the water and tied a strong rope to the machine.  By now a crowd had gathered on the beach, and with everyone’s help the aircraft was successfully dragged to shore.    

     Meanwhile, the pilot of the other gyrocopter had returned to the beach with a trailer.  He and the other pilot disassembled the damaged gyrocopter, and after putting it in the trailer said they were going to Westerly Airport. 

     After a few days a report of the crash reached the Westerly Sun newspaper, but when a reporter inquired about details, it was learned that the accident had never been reported to the police, Westerly Airport officials, or to state aeronautics officials.  The identities of the pilots was unknown.  It was further reported that gyrocopters didn’t have to be registered, nor did one need a license to fly one, which was going to make it difficult for officials to question the pilots.

     Source:

     Westerly Sun, “Rescue At Sea Went Unreported”, August 1, 1974, page 10.   

 

Smithfield, R.I. – June 16, 1974

Smithfield, Rhode Island – June 16, 1974

     On the morning of June 16, 1974, a 47-year-old man from Wrentham, Massachusetts, was piloting a small aircraft from Block Island, R.I., to North Central State Airport in Smithfield.  The aircraft was a four-passenger Beech Debonnaire, (N9782Y).   As the pilot was approaching Runway 15 in preparation of landing, the airplane stalled and crashed nose-down into a wooded area about 500 yards short of the runway.  The plane struck the trees in such a way that the foliage broke its fall, and it came to rest with its tail pointing towards the air.  Although there was damage to the plane, there was no fire.  The pilot received a minor injury to his head, and was able to away from the crash.  There were no passengers aboard.  The aircraft had to be removed by helicopter.

     Sources:

     Providence Journal, “Lady Luck Was His Co-pilot”, June 17, 1974, (With Photo)

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Copter Retrieves Crashed Aircraft”, June 19, 1974

       

 

South Kingstown, R.I. – December 2, 1973

South Kingstown, Rhode Island – December 2, 1973

 

     On the afternoon of December 2, 1973, several sky divers were making parachute jumps over the area of the Laurel Lane Golf Course in South Kingston, not far from the Richmond Airport. 

     At about 3:30 p.m. a Cessna 182F took off from the Richmond Airport and climbed to an altitude of 3,000 feet.  At about 3:45 p.m., a 35-year-old man from Westerly, R.I. jumped from the plane but his parachute failed to fully deploy.  Witnesses later stated that he pulled his reserve parachute, but was too low to the ground at the time, and it did not have time to fully deploy to break his fall.  The man was transported to South County Hospital in Wakefield, R.I. where he was pronounced dead on arrival. 

     Sources:

    Providence Journal, “Chute Fails, Jump Kills R.I. Man”, December 3, 1973, page 1.   

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “FAA Probe Set In Fall Of Parachutist”, December 3, 1973, page 2

     Westerly Sun, “Sky Diver Killed As Chute Fails”, December 3, 1973, page 1

Coventry, R.I. – August 24, 1973

Coventry, Rhode Island – August 24, 1973  

     RICONN Airport is located in the western portion of the town of Coventry, R.I., just off Route 14, (aka Plainfield Pike), bordering the Connecticut state line.  The runway area is an open grass field.

     On August 24, 1973, a Piper PA-12 with two men aboard took off from RICONN Airport.  As the plane was gaining altitude it suddenly backfired and developed engine trouble.  The pilot attempted to bring the aircraft around to land back at RICONN, but with the engine running erratically was unable to gain enough altitude.  The plane was wrecked when it crashed in a wooded area about 300 yards from the runway.  Although the gas tank ruptured, there was no fire.  The pilot suffered a broken leg, but the passenger was able to hike through the woods to find help.     

     Source:

     Providence Journal Bulletin, “”2 Survive R.I. Plane Crash”, August 25, 1973, page 1. (Photo of aircraft)

 

 

Warwick, R.I. – November 17, 1970

Warwick, Rhode Island – November 17, 1970 

     Shortly after 1 p.m. on November 17, 1970, a twin-engine Cessna 310 aircraft with a husband and wife aboard took off from T.F. Green Airport.  Just after takeoff the plane lost power in its left engine and the pilot made a left turn in an attempt to get back to the runway.  As he was doing so, the airplane came down in a neighborhood adjacent to the airport, where it skimmed the top of a tree located in front of 57-59 Kilvert Street.  It then glanced off a three-story house before slamming into another three-story home at 51 Kilvert Street and exploded into flame. 

     Inside 51 Kilvert Street, a 37-year-old mother lay sleeping with her 1-year-old son.  The crash set the room ablaze.  Her husband, who was out in front of the house at the time, ran in and rescued his wife and son, but the woman later died of her injuries.

     The occupants of the aircraft were pulled from the wreckage by firefighters, both were suffering from severe burns. 

     The flames spread to an adjacent house, and four firefighters were injured battling the blaze.  The burned homes were later torn down. 

     Sources:

     Providence Journal, and Providence Evening Bulletin, (unknown  dates – not recorded on clippings.)

     “Plane Crashes After takeoff At Green”

     “Spectators Come To View Floodlighted Plane Wreck”

     “Mother, Infant Pulled Out After Plane Hits R.I. Home”, November 18, 1970.

     “A Neighborhood Learns Horror”

     “One Of The Hazards…Now It’s Happened Here”

     “Experts Probing Plane Crash”

     “Burns Claim Woman; Home Hit By Plane”

     “Pilot’s Wife Quizzed, Condition Still Poor” 

     “Hurt Woman Questioned On Warwick Plane Crash”

 

 

 

 

 

Cranston, R.I. – April 5, 1970

Cranston, R.I. – April 5, 1970

     On April 5, 1970, an 18-year-old student pilot, and member of the Little Rhody Flying Club, was soloing over Cranston in a Cessna 120 aircraft.  At 1:39 p.m. he radioed a distress call that his aircraft was on fire, and shortly afterward crashed in an open field in the western portion of the city, about 1.5 miles from Laten Knight Road in an area known as Fiskville.  The youth was killed on impact.

     While examining the wreckage, investigators found no evidence of fire. 

     Sources:

     Providence Journal, “Pilot, 18, Killed In Cranston”, April 6, 1970 (with photo)

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “State, U.S. Officials Probe Crash”, April 6, 1970 (with photo)

Lincoln, R.I. – May 26, 1966

Lincoln, Rhode Island – May 26, 1966

     On May 26, 1966, a twin-engine Piper Apache aircraft, (N218P), with three people aboard, was approaching North Central State Airport in Smithfield, Rhode Island, when both engines suddenly lost all power.  The pilot, Raymond J. Morissette, the (then) Mayor of Central Falls, R.I., radioed a “May-Day” before the plane crashed into a thickly wooded section of Lincoln.  The plane came down  about one mile from the end of runway 33, to the southwest of Jenckes Hill Road in Lincoln, and to the northeast of Clark Road in Smithfield.  Although the aircraft was completely wrecked, with the wings being torn off from hitting trees, Mr. Morissette and his two passengers, a mother and her son, were able to extricate themselves and walk out of the woods to seek help.   

     Source:

     Providence Journal, “Mayors Mayday Heeded”, May 27, 1966 

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

     Sources:

     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.

     Sources:

     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

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