Fall River, MA. – July 21, 1985

Fall River, Massachusetts – July 21, 1985

     On July 21, 1985, a single-engine Bellanca Decathlon, (N5504B), with a lone pilot aboard, took off from the Fall River Airport for the purpose of picking up an advertising banner and flying over the Fall River area with it.  The banner was lying to the side of the runway, with the front end of it suspended about 20 feet off the ground between two poles.  The Bellanca circled the field and came in low to catch the front end of the banner.  This was done successfully, and immediately afterward the aircraft began a steep climb so the banner would clear the trees at the end of the runway.  According to witnesses, the plane suddenly stalled and fell into a thickly wooded area about 90 feet west of the main runway where it exploded into flames. 

     Two men immediately got into a truck and drove to the edge of the woods, and then made their way to the crash site, but there was nothing they could do.  The pilot had been killed instantly.  

     Sources:

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Pilot Dies In crash In Fall River – Plane Stalls While Picking Up Advertising Banner”, July 22, 1985, page A-4.

     Aviation Safety Network

Fall River, MA. – July 6, 1986

Fall River, Massachusetts – July 6, 1986

     Shortly after 11:00 p.m. on the night of July 6, 1986, a Hughes 500 jet-powered helicopter with two men aboard took off from New Bedford Airport bound for Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.  Not long after takeoff the aircraft encountered thick patches of fog near the Fall River area and the pilot decided to turn back to New Bedford.   While at an altitude of 400 feet over North Watuppa Pond in Fall River, the engine suddenly quit and the helicopter went down in the water, rolled over, and sank.  Both men escaped uninjured, and swam 100 yards to shore.  They came ashore in a thickly wooded area and wandered about until they came to a dirt road.  They followed the road and came to the Fall River water filtration plant about two miles from the crash site.  There were two men on duty inside the plant who gave the men dry clothing and notified authorities of the accident. 

     The helicopter was located in 27 feet of water.  Divers raised the craft to the surface with floatation devices, and another helicopter air-lifted it from the pond and brought it to New Bedford. 

     Sources:

     Providence Journal Bulletin, “2 Survive Copter Crash In Pond In Fall River”, July 7, 1986, page A-2. 

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Two Swam To Shore After Helicopter Crash, Wandered Hours Through Dark Underbrush”, July 8, 1986, page A-3.      

Fall River, MA. – May 11, 1983

Fall River, Massachusetts – May 11, 1983 

     At 6:00 a.m. on the morning of May 11, 1983, a 57-year-old pilot took off from New Bedford Airport in a single-engine, two-seat, fiberglass aircraft that he’d built himself.  Construction of the aircraft had taken two years, and cost $12,000.  The purpose of the flight was to log flight hours on the airplane.  Previous to this flight, the pilot had logged 18 flight hours with it. 

     At about 8:00 a.m., while flying at an altitude of 2,000 feet over the Fall River area, the engine suddenly quit.  The pilot attempted to make a “beeline” to Fall River Municipal Airport but found he was losing altitude too quickly, so he aimed for an open stretch of Riggenbach Road about a half-mile east of the airport.  As it came down, the airplane skimmed some tree tops which tore off the wings.  The fuselage remained intact and when it hit the ground there was no fire. Remarkably, the pilot was not injured, and credited his seatbelt for saving his life. 

     It was reported that the suspected cause of the accident was ice forming in the carburetor.  

     Source:

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Just ‘Cooking Along’ When The Engine Quit”, May 12, 1983, page C-5

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