Andover, MA. – August 12, 1980

Andover, Massachusetts – August 12, 1980

     At about 10:00 a.m. on the morning of August 12, 1980, a twin-engine Cessna 401 was making its landing approach to Tewmac Airport in Tewksbury, Mass. when it abruptly crashed onto Interstate 495 near the Route 133 exit, (Exit 39), narrowly missing traffic.  The impact occurred in the town of Andover, on the Tewkbury town line.  The aircraft exploded on impact killing both occupants aboard.   There were no reported injuries to anyone on the ground.     

     Sources:

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “2 Die As Plane Crashes At 495 And 133”, August 13, 1980, page A-4, (With photo of crash scene.)  

     Westerly Sun, Photo and caption, August 13, 1980, page 2.

Andover, MA. – March 7, 1943

Andover, Massachusetts – March 7, 1943 

 

P-47B Thunderbolt
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the afternoon of March 7, 1943, two P-47 fighter planes from the 342nd Fighter Squadron based at Bedford Field, were conducting aerial maneuvers several thousand feet over the town of Andover.  The activity was closely monitored by members of the local civil defense who were manning a plane spotting tower. 

      One of the P-47s, (Ser. No. 41-6444), was piloted by 2nd Lt. John R. Prindle, 23, of Erie, Pennsylvania.  The other, (Ser. No. 41-6003), was piloted by another second lieutenant.  At 2:25 p.m., the two aircraft collided in mid-air, with Lt. Prindle’s plane loosing a significant portion of its wing.  As Prindle’s plane fell away, he bailed out and deployed his parachute, and northerly wind’s pulled him towards a large forested area. 

     Meanwhile his plane crashed and exploded on the estate of John B. Towle on Porter Road, barely missing the main house.  The resulting fire set off the live ammunition in the machine guns sending bullets flying in all directions and hindering firemen from extinguishing the blaze.  The house was unoccupied at the time and there were no injuries to those on the ground. 

     The other aircraft involved in the collision was able to safely make it back to Bedford Field. 

     The plane spotters immediately reported the crash, and the result was perhaps the largest search and rescue effort ever mobilized by the town.  Hundreds of military men, local and state officials, civil defense units, and volunteer civilians from Andover and nearby towns took part in the search to locate the missing pilot. The Red Cross supplied thousands of gallons of coffee and hundreds of pounds of food.   The search lasted throughout the night, with temperatures dropping to near zero.  One 15-year-old boy was reported to have frostbite. 

     Lt. Prindle was finally located the following morning, alive and in good spirits, in a wooded area near the Boxford town line.  His injuries received from the collision and bail out prevented him from walking out of the woods on his own.  He’d been able to keep warm due to the fact he’d been wearing his leather and fleece flying suit.   

     Sources:

     The Evening Tribune, (Lawrence, Ma.), “Pilot Found In Wooded Area”, March 8, 1943, page 1.       

     The Andover Townsman, “Army Flier Improves After Crash Sunday”, March 11, 1943, page 1.

 

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