West Greenwich, R.I. – July 23, 1979

West Greenwich, Rhode Island – July 23, 1979  

     On July 23, 1979, a 26-year-old pilot, and his 60-year-old female passenger, took off from Richmond, Rhode Island, bound for Westerly,  R.I., to refuel the airplane as there were no fuel facilities at Richmond Airport.   While passing over the town of West Greenwich, R.I., the aircraft crash-landed on an unused portion of St. Joseph’s Cemetery.  After striking an open area of the cemetery, the plane bounded into some trees about 100 yards from the chapel, and 30 yards from Nooseneck Hill Rd., a.k.a., Route 3.   

     Both the pilot and his passenger suffered serious injuries, and the aircraft was heavily damaged.  The aircraft came to rest upside down with its tail up against a tree, and with one of its wings sheared off.

      West Greenwich’s chief of police was quoted as saying, “That plane is really a mess.  They’re lucky to be alive.”    

    It was further reported that the pilot had obtained his flying license the week before the accident. 

     The aircraft was described as a 1973 single-engine Grumman AA1B.  

     Sources:

     Westerly Sun, “Couple In plane Crash ‘Lucky To Be Alive'”, July 24, 1979, page 9.

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Airplane Pilot Likely Was Lost And Out Of Fuel”, July 24, 1979, page A8, (With 2 photos of the crash.)

     Providence Journal, “2 Hurt As Plane falls Near Rt. 3”, July 24, 1979, page 1.

West Greenwich – March 24, 1943

West Greenwich, Rhode Island – March 24, 1943

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

P-47B Thunderbolt

U.S. Air Force Photo

     On March 24, 1943, two Army P-47B fighter aircraft (41-6002) and (41-6040) were training over southern Rhode Island when both were forced to land for reasons not stated in the press. One plane, piloted by Flight Officer Oscar C. Kline, 22, of Barrington, New Jersey, came down on Nooseneck Hill Road in West Greenwich, barely missing an automobile before cartwheeling into the woods lining the east side of the highway.  The plane caught fire but did not explode.  The flames were quickly extinguished by the driver of the vehicle that was almost hit, and some other passers by, using brush-fire pump cans obtained from the nearby home of Richmond’s Chief of Police, John Potter.  Unfortunately Flight Officer Kline died as he was removed from the plane.  

     The second P-47B landed about a mile-and-a-half farther down Nooseneck Hill Road in the town of Richmond, near Dawley Memorial Park.  

     Witnesses told investigators that the two P-47s had circled the area several times with their wheels down before attempting to land. 

Sources:

Pawtucket Times, “Plane Crashes Kill 2 Pilots – Officials Of Army, Navy Probe Accidents In South County”, March 25, 1943   (This headline is in error.  Only one pilot was killed.)   

Woonsocket Call, “Pilot Identified In State Crackup”, March 25, 1943, Pg. 1 

Springfield Union, (Mass.), “Westover Fighter Pilot Killed, Another Escapes In Two-Plane R.I. Crash”, March 25, 1943

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