Gloucester, MA – November 10, 1929

Gloucester, Massachusetts – November 10, 1929

     On November 10, 1929, a U.S. Coast Guard amphibian aircraft with a crew of three aboard took off from Gloucester Harbor for a routine patrol flight.  No sooner had the plane become airborne when it was struck by a downdraft causing it to loose altitude and strike the forestay and rigging of an outward bound fishing schooner, the Jackie B.   The impact ripped the right wing from the airplane, and caused damage to the schooner’s masts. The plane’s momentum carried it another 100 yards where it crashed into the water and flipped upside down. 

     All three crewmen aboard the aircraft were seriously injured.  The pilot, Lt. L. M. Melka, was rescued from the sinking plane by Herman Mathisen who just happened to be passing by in a small boat when the plane hit the water near him.   The other two coastguardsmen, William Kenley, and Arthur J. Descoteau, were rescued by the crew of the Jackie B.  All three airmen were taken to Addison Gilbert Hospital where they were treated for a variety of injuries including fractures, shock, and hypothermia.  

     The aircraft was assigned to Coast Guard Station 7 in Gloucester.

     Source: Lewiston Daily Sun, “Coast Guardsmen Injured In Crash”, November 11, 1929


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