Accident Boeing B-52C-45-BO Stratofortress 54-2666,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 48334
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Date:Thursday 7 January 1971
Type:Silhouette image of generic B52 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Boeing B-52C-45-BO Stratofortress
Owner/operator:99th BWg /364th BSqn USAF
Registration: 54-2666
MSN: 17161
Fatalities:Fatalities: 9 / Occupants: 9
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Big Rock Point, near Charlevoix, Little Traverse Bay, Lake Michigan -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Westover AFB, Chicopee, MA
Destination airport:
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
Crashed and destroyed January 7 1971, whilst flying a low-level route at night that passed over Lake Michigan. During the simulated bomb run a ground station reported that the radar image of the plane blossomed & then disappeared. The B-52 crashed into Lake Michigan, just off Big Rock Point, near Charlevoix, Little Traverse Bay, MI.

Only a small amount of wreckage, two life vests, and some spilled fuel was found in Little Traverse Bay. The B-52 went down six nautical miles from the Bay Shore Air Force Radar Site

The aircraft was never recovered from the waters of Lake Michigan. The accident report, the board determined, that cause of the the accident was "undetermined,". The accident investigation speculated that the accident was due to wing failure and/or an on board explosion. The airplane was on a low level bomb run on the Iron Man Oil Burner route making a night RBS bomb run. The RBS site reported that communications with the crew and the aircraft route appeared normal until the point at which the crew would execute a "pop-up" maneuver. At that point radar contact was lost.

All 9 Crew were killed:
Pilot:Maj Gerald W. Black 32 USAF killed.
Co-pilot:1st/Lt Dennis Ferguson 25 USAF killed.
Nav/Inst:Lt/Col John M. Somonfy Jr. 39 USAF killed.
Nav:Lt/Col William Lemmon 38 USAF killed.
Nav:Capt John E. Weaver 27 USAF killed.
Nav:Capt Joel G. Hirsh 26 USAF killed.
EWO:Maj Donald F. Rosseau 37 USAF killed.
EWO:1st/Lt Douglas Bachman 25 USAF killed.
AG:Tech/Sgt Jerry M. Achey 33 USAF killed.

Redlands, California: Redlands Daily Facts, United Press International, "Unarmed B-52 crashes into Lake Michigan", Friday, 8 January 1971, page one

Revision history:

07-Nov-2008 10:15 ASN archive Added
25-Oct-2009 23:35 JINX Updated
18-Feb-2013 15:49 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
06-Apr-2020 14:53 Reno Raines Updated [Operator, Operator]

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