Hyannis, MA. – May 11, 1944

Hyannis, Massachusetts – May 11, 1944 

     On the afternoon of May 11, 1944, navy Lieutenant George E. Orenge was piloting what the press described as a “navy torpedo bomber”, (Type unknown), over Cape Cod, Massachusetts, when the aircraft suddenly caught fire while in flight.  Being over a populated area, Lieutenant Orenge opted to stay with the plane, but was unable to direct it towards an open area, or to make it to Hyannis Airport.  The plane crashed on Barnstable Road about 200 yards from Main Street in the town of Hyannis.  In the process it struck an elm tree and broke in two, pitching Lieutenant Orenge, still strapped to his seat, from the cockpit.  As the aircraft came to rest and was consumed by flames, Lieutenant Orenge landed on the sidewalk in front of 62 Barnstable Road.   

     The homeowner of 62 Barnstable Road, Vernon Coleman, happened to be outside and witnessed the crash.  He later told a reporter from the Cape Cod Standard Times, “I looked up and saw the plane sort of wavering with the motor on fire.” 

     Lieutenant Orenge was transported to Cape Cod Hospital, but remarkably, he’d only suffered some minor bumps, scrapes, and bruises. 

     It was also reported that he flew another aircraft later in the day. 

     This crash wasn’t the only one of Lieutenant Orenge’s  naval career.  On November 5, 1943, he was piloting an F6F-3 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 65895), when a tire blew out on landing at Quonset Point NAS in Rhode Island.  The aircraft went off the runway and struck a truck.  The aircraft needed extensive repairs, but Lieutenant Orenge suffered only minor injuries.

     Source: Cape Cod Standard Times, “Pilot Who Survives Hyannis crash, Goes Aloft Again”, May 12, 1944                 

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