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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 98425
Last updated: 21 November 2021
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Date:26-JUL-1944
Time:07:35 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic B29 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing B-29 Superfortress
Owner/operator:40th BGp /395th BSqn USAAF
Registration: 42-6291
MSN: 3425
Fatalities:Fatalities: 9 / Occupants: 13
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Midnapore, Paschim Medinipur district, West Bengal -   India
Phase: Initial climb
Nature:Military
Departure airport:Chakulia Airfield,Purbi Singhbhum district, State of Jharkhand, India
Destination airport:
Narrative:
B-29-5-BW 42-6291: Delivered to the USAAF 9 January 1944. Assigned to 40th Bomb Group,395th Bomb Squadron, USAAF 16 April 1944

Written off (damaged beyond repair) when crashed at Midnapore, Paschim Medinipur district of the Indian state of West Bengal, India (at approximate Coordinates: 22.424°N 87.319°E) due to engine failure after take-off from Chakulia Airfield, Purbi Singhbhum district, State of Jharkhand, India 26 July, 1944. Nine of the thirteen crew were killed (seven in the crash, two died later in hospital). According to the following document (from published sources, see link #4)

"STATEMENT OF CAPT ALVIN E. HILLS, JR. AIRPLANE COMMANDER #42-6291
As told to Major R. M. McGlinn, Accident Officer

“We took-off from Chakulia, India, at 07:35 IST, climbed on a course of 72 degrees for 5 to 10 minutes and then changed course to 84 degrees, continuing our climb until reaching an altitude of 1,000 feet. The flight engineer advised #2 Cylinder head temperature was reading 270 degrees, and advised levelling off for cooling. We flew for approximately ten minutes in level flight when Co-Pilot noticed #3 engine on fire. I feathered #3 engine, advised the flight engineer to cut #3 engine fuel shut-off valve off, and use the fire extinguisher.

The use of the fire extinguisher showed no help what-so-ever. I started a slow turn to the left and after 10 or 15 degrees were accomplished, #2 engine started to cut out, dropping from 2400 to 2000 back to 2400 and then 1500 RPM. I advised the Bombardier to salvo the bombs and forward bomb bay tank. (The Bombardier had a little trouble operating the salvo mechanism.)

The Co-Pilot advised crew members, over the interphone, to prepare for an emergency landing. I did not try to feather #2 engine, (I believe the Co-Pilot in the confusion tried to un-feather #3 engine, as there was a terrific drag on that side.) A moment later, #1 and #4 engines began cutting out.

I could not maintain level flight, dropped the nose to pick up air speed and broke through the clouds at approximately 100 feet and found a clear area. I made a normal approach for a normal belly landing. Just before contact, I notified the flight engineer to cut the switches. Normal contact was made with the ground at about the radar section, and an explosion occurred on the right side. We slid along the ground for quite a distance and then came to a sudden stop.

By this time, the entire cabin of the plane was filled with flames. I proceeded through the Pilot’s window to safety. I then helped Lt Houston, the co-pilot, out to the bank of a creek, away from the flames. Lt. DiLollo was dazed and was walking around in front and to the left of the front."

Crew of 42-6291:
Capt Hills, Alvin E. Jr. (Pilot) - survived with minor injuries
1st Lt Houston, William G (Co-Pilot) - Fatal (died in hospital on 26th July 1944)
1st Lt Wortman, Wilbur C. (Navigator) - Fatal
2nd Lt DiLollo, Roger C (Bomb Aimer) - Fatal (died in hospital 1st August 1944)
F/O Gaver, Irvin E. (Flight Engineer) - Fatal
Sgt Pierce, Jess H. (Radio Operator) - Fatal
S/Sgt Dignan, James C. (Senior Gunner) - Fatal
Sgt Smith, Theodore R. (Rear Gunner) - Fatal
T/Sgt Dirkinsha, George W. (Lower Gunner) - Fatal
Sgt Teter, Roy L. (Tail Gunner) - survived with Minor injuries
Sgt Harmon, James W. (Radar Operator) - Minor injuries
Sgt Polonsky, Samuel N. - Minor injuries
T/Sgt Cole, Lawrence M. - Fatal

Sources:

1. http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/src/db.asp
2. http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_serials/1942_1.html
3. https://www.fold3.com/image/28827873?ann=e841fe80-505b-11e0-4073-7e3f542f010c
4. https://www.40thbombgroup.org/AlvinHills.pdf
5. https://user.xmission.com/~tmathews/b29/56years/56years-4407.html
6. https://www.40thbombgroup.org/40thbombgroupaircraft.html


Images:


Photo is in the public domain as it is a USAAF photo taken at the time of the crash in India. Photo is in the collections of the University of North Texas Hardin Simmons University Library.

Related books:

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
06-Jun-2017 23:04 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
06-Jun-2017 23:05 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn, Source]
06-Jun-2017 23:06 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
06-Jun-2017 23:10 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]
23-Mar-2020 11:13 DG333 Updated [Operator, Operator]
05-Jul-2020 05:36 Christopher Eck Updated [Photo]

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