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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 100119
Last updated: 28 November 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic B24 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Consolidated B-24D Liberator
Owner/operator:United States Army Air Force (USAAF)
Registration: 41-11826
Fatalities:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Manzanola, Colorado -   United States of America
Phase: Unknown
Departure airport:
Destination airport:
On December 22, 1942, two Consolidated B-24D Liberator heavy bombers of 375th BS, 308th BG, collided over Colorado when one bomber (41-11826) overtook and pulled up in front of the flight leader (41-24041). The impact with the leader’s nose severed the tail section and the aircraft went out of control preventing the seven man crew from bailing out. The flight leader had sounded the bailout bell and five men parachuted to safety. Parts of the severed tail remained imbedded in the nose, pinning the bombardier and navigator in the nose of the aircraft and blocking the pilot’s forward vision. The engineer went to the front of the aircraft, noted the situation and notified the pilot of the two men trapped there. The pilot, Lt. Slough, despite the damage to the aircraft, with the aid of the engineer in the copilot’s seat, managed to fly the plane back and land at the base at Pueblo. These two men, Lt. Slough and S/Sgt. Cailleir, were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for their heroic actions.

Crew of 41-11826 (all killed):
1st Lt. Gerald E. Smetts, 0-1699524, pilot, Oakland, CA
2nd Lt. Charles T. Bowen, Jr., 0-791379, co-pilot, Flushing, NY
2nd Lt. Adam C. Thompson, Jr., 0-791646, navigator, East Hampton, NY
2nd Lt. Bliss M. Shannon, 0-728515, bombardier, Brooklyn, NY
Sgt. Victor H. McGregor, 37080409, engineer, Casper, WY
S/Sgt. Charles S. Meisenheimer, 19061967, radio operator, Jefferson, TX
Sgt. James H. Cooney, Jr., 38193359, gunner, Baton Rouge, LA

Crew of 41-24041 (all survived):
1st Lt. Frank D. Slough, pilot
2nd Lt. Steward P. Elliott, co-pilot, parachuted
2nd Lt. Henry W. Scott, bombardier, major injury
2nd Lt. Lester M. Warner, navigator, minor injury
S/Sgt. James E. Cailleir, engineer
Sgt. Elwood W. Harrison, engineer, parachuted
S/Sgt. Dan Kinnon, radio operator, parachuted
Sgt.Herman Siegeldt, asst. radio operator, parachuted
Sgt. Robert A. Griffin, tail gunner, parachuted

This mid-air accident proved to be the first of many fatal accidents to occur among men and planes based at Pueblo Army Air Base. Lt. Smetts bomber crashed by 37º 52’ 45" N, 103º 48’ 30" W, near Manzanola, Colorado. A prop blade from this aircraft is on display at the B-24 museum, at Pueblo, CO.


Revision history:

03-Jan-2016 20:54 Laurent Rizzotti Updated [Total fatalities, Total occupants, Location, Source, Narrative]

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