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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 25915
Last updated: 5 December 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic B29 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing B-29MR-90-BW Superfortress
Owner/operator:1st BSqn /9th BWg USAF (1st BSqn /9th Bomb Wingg United States Air Force)
Registration: 44-87741
MSN: 12544
Fatalities:Fatalities: 9 / Occupants: 16
Other fatalities:10
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Andersen AFB, Guam, (PGUA) -   Guam
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:Andersen AFB, Guam (PGUA)
Destination airport:Andersen AFB, (PGUA)
Boeing B-29-90-BW Superfortress 44-87741: Delivered to USAAF 5 July 1945. Assigned to Strategic Air Command, 509th Bomb Wing, and named "Private Love Witch". Modified to B-29MR. Re-Assigned to 19th Bomb Wing. Re-Assigned to 1st Bomb Squadron, 9th Bomb Wing, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho (still as a B-29MR).

The heavy bomber left Andersen AFB at 06:05 Local Time on its way back to Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, via Kwajalein Island. Shortly after takeoff, the engine number two failed. The crew was able to shut it down, and feathered the propeller. On final approach to runway 07R, after passing through the last cloud layer, the pilot-in-command decided to make a go around and following a circuit before starting a second approach few minutes later.

While struggling to land the second time, he turned the B-29 into the feathered propeller at too steep of an angle, with the landing gear down, and flaps retracted which caused the bomber to lose lift and control. The aircraft banked 80 degrees to the left, and crashed in a near vertical position onto several houses located short of the runway.

Among the 16 occupants, all four crew members and five passengers were killed, seven others were injured. On the ground, ten people were killed, among them six children, and two entire families. It is still (as of 2017) the worst ever accident (in terms of fatalities) to have happened as Guam AFB.

Crew of 44-87741:
1st Lt Henry G. Oetgen, pilot, killed
1st Lt Sophus Eddie Larsen, copilot, killed
1st Lt Dominick J. Christopher, navigator, killed
T/Sgt John M. Reilly, flight engineer, killed
1st Lt Howard L. DeBoer, bombardier, killed
S/Sgt Homer A. Pickrell, gunner, killed
T/Sgt Fred Leard, killed
A3c Donald J. Wagner, killed
A2c Francis L. Murray, killed
1st Lt Jack Patton, survived
A2c Robert L. Jensen, survived
A1c Donald C. Van Doren, survived
A1c William J. Backman, survived
A2c Nelson H. Graham, survived
A2c Roberto Duran, survived
A2c Walter R. Newby, survived

Those killed on the ground were:
Lt Col Benjamin L. Mills, his wife Agnes, and his three daughters Margaret (aged 9), Helen (aged 5), and Martha (aged 2)
Maj Gerald A. Orken, his wife Shirley, his daughter Vivian (aged 5), and son Steven (aged 3),
Bonnie Kimball (aged 11), daughter of Cpt Stanley J. Kimball.

Cause: The failure of the engine number two was caused by overheating of the hydraulic liquid and cylinders. Thick smoke came out when an exhaust pipe broke off. The crew was forced to shot the engine down and to feather the propeller. In such conditions, the control was difficult.


3. "The Crash of 44-87741" by Lee Corbin

Related books:

Revision history:

27-Sep-2008 01:00 ASN archive Added
24-Dec-2008 08:37 Lee Updated
26-Aug-2011 12:16 Uli Elch Updated [Aircraft type, Cn, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
14-Apr-2013 23:14 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Total fatalities, Other fatalities, Location, Source, Narrative]
06-Oct-2013 20:35 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Source, Narrative]
09-Dec-2013 19:03 TB Updated [Operator, Source, Narrative]
23-Jun-2015 16:57 jacpat Updated [Other fatalities, Source, Narrative]
11-Jun-2017 18:34 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Source, Narrative]
05-Apr-2020 19:52 Reno Raines Updated [Operator, Location, Destination airport, Operator]

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