Newry, ME – June 27, 1960

Newry, ME – June 27, 1960

     On June 27, 1960, a U.S. Air Force KC-97 Tanker was refueling a B-47 bomber when an explosion occurred.  The tanker crashed on Jonathan Smith Mountain and all aboard were killed. 

     The dead were identified as:

     (Pilot) 1st Lt. William F. Burgess, 26, of Indian Lake, N.Y.

     (C0-pilot) 1st Lt. Lewis F. Turner, 25, of Spokane, Washington.

     (Navigator) 2nd Lt. Raymond S. Kisonas, 26, of Waterbury, Connecticut.

     (Flight Engineer) Master Sgt. Harold E. Young, 40, of Selma, Alabama.

     (Boom Operator)  T/Sgt. Robert P. Costello, 30, of Greenfield, Ill.     

     Some parachutes were reportedly seen.    

     The plane was based at the Plattsburgh AFB in New York, and was assigned to the 380th Bombardment Squadron.  

Sources:

New York Times, “Five Die In Air Crash”, June 28, 1960

New York Times, “Crash Victims Found”, June 29, 1960

  

Lewiston AP, Maine – Nov. 16, 1937

Lewiston Air Port, Maine – November 16, 1937

On November 16, 1937, a BT-9A (36-122) military plane from Boston crashed at Lewiston Air Port.

Source: Lawrence Webster – Aviation Historian

Greenville, ME – May 11, 1973

Greenville, Maine – May 11, 1973

     On the night of May 11, 1973, a Cessna 402, (N-2985Q), carrying six people went down in a wooded area between Greenville Airport and Moosehead Lake.  All aboard were killed in the accident.

     The dead were identified as:

     (Pilot) Claude Goodrich, of Epping, New Hampshire. 

     (Co-pilot) Paul Crawford, of Nashua, New Hampshire.

     Passengers Stuart Kimball and his son David, 12, of Manchester, New Hampshire, and Peter Cook, 41, and his 15-year-old son Forrest, of the Manchester-Concord area.    

     Sources:

     Providence Sunday Journal, “Plane Crash In Maine Takes 6 Lives”, May 13, 1973, page C-10

     New York Times, “Six From New Hampshire Killed In Crash Of Plane”, May 13, 1973

     www.planecrashinfo.com

Fort Fairfield, ME – September 22, 1942

Fort Fairfield, Maine – September 22, 1942

    

B-25C Twin-Engine Bomber - U.S. Air Force Photo

B-25C Twin-Engine Bomber – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On September 22, 1942, a U. S. Army B-25C bomber, (41-13098), left Presque Isle Maine Army Air Base en-route to overseas duty in England when it crashed in the nearby town of Fort Fairfield, Maine, off Fort Fairfield, Road.  All seven crewmen aboard were killed.  

     The plane was said to be flying in poor visibility conditions.

     Civilian witnesses stated they saw the aircraft burst into flames while still in the air. 

    

      The dead were identified as:

     (Pilot) 1st Lt. Ralph L. Drogula, 26.  He’s buried in Arlington national Cemetery.  Newspaper accounts list Lt. Drogula as a Second Lieutenant, but an internet photo of his grave indicates he was a First Lieutenant.  (See www.findagrave.com  memorial #49175499)

     (C0-pilot) 2nd Lt. James O. Crokcer

     S/Sgt. William H. Finch, 35. Buried in Fairview Cemetery, Fairview, Michigan.  

     S/Sgt. Billy John Hill, 22. Buried in Nocona Cemetery, Nocona, Texas.  

     S/Sgt. George E. Simmons, 22.  Buried in St. Catherine’s Cemetery, Du Bois, Penn. (See www.findagrave.com memorial #58284089 for a photograph of S/Sgt. Simmons.)

     S/Sgt. Lawrence A. Robinson, 26.  Buried in Pine grove cemetery, Marlborough, N.H.

     S/Sgt. Joseph Mortino

     There was another B-25C that left Presque Isle earlier in the day which crashed in the town of Perham, Maine, just a few miles north-west of Fort Fairfield.  (The tail number of that plane was 41-13049.)   In that crash, the tail section was reportedly found 1/4 mile from the wreck site possibly indicating a structural failure.  (See “Perham. ME – September 22, 1942” under Maine Aviation Accidents on this website for more information.)  

      Both aircraft were part of the 379th Bomb Squadron, 310th Bomb Group, then based in Greenville, South Carolina.    

     Sources:

     New York Times, “14 Army Men Lost In Two Maine Crashes”

     57th Bomb Wing Association http://57thbombwing.com/379thSquadronHistory.php

     www.findagrave.com

 

Blue Hills Bay – February 13, 1943

Blue Hills Bay – February 13, 1943

Surrey, Maine

     Little information is available about this accident as press reports were vague.

     On February 13, 1943, a two-man Navy plane crashed into Blue Hills Bay while on a training flight.  The type of plane was not identified.

     The pilot, Lieutenant John Shelley, of Wellesley, Massachusetts, was rescued by townsmen from Surrey, who braved the icy waters in a small boat to get to the downed airman.  

     An unidentified radioman was lost in the crash.  Lt. Shelley stated that both he and the radioman had managed to climb onto a wing of the partially submerged aircraft and the radioman attempted to swim the mile or so to shore.  The water was cold, with floating ice and strong currents. 

     Sources:

     Providence Journal, “4 Lost, 2 Rescued In Plane Mishaps”, February 14, 1943, Pg. 5    

     (The headline does not match the story because two crashes were included in the same article.  The other accident occurred in Rhode Island.)

     Bangor Daily News, “Navy Man feared Lost After Crash In Blue Hill Bay”, February 15, 1943 

Portland, ME – June 26, 1949

Portland, Maine – June 26, 1949

Updated March 16, 2016

    

C-47 Aircraft - U.S. Air Force Photo

C-47 Aircraft – U.S. Air Force Photo

      On the morning of June 26, 1949, a Maine National Guard C-47A, (Ser. No. 4292076), took off from Dow Air Force Base in Bangor, Maine, to transport 22 members of the of the 195th Army Band (Maine National Guard) to Portland, Maine, for an authorized drill.  Besides the members of the band, the plane carried a pilot and co-pilot, for a total complement of 24 men.

     Upon reaching Portland Airport, the pilot attempted to land on runway 10 and over shot it.  After touching down, the pilot attempted to control the aircraft, but due to its weight and momentum found it impossible to do so.  At the time it touched down, the plane was loaded with 3,700 pounds of fuel, 4,800 pounds of passenger weight, and an estimated 500 pounds of band equipment, bringing the total of 9,000 pounds over and above the static weight of the aircraft. 

     The plane left the end of the runway and crossed 100 feet of open ground before plunging into the Fore River.  Despite the large amount of fuel aboard, there was no fire, and the aircraft didn’t flood or sink.  However, the plane was a complete loss, and all 24 men aboard were transported to area hospitals with varying degrees of injury.  

     Source: U.S. Air Force Accident Report, #49-6-26-4 

 

 

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