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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 98433
Last updated: 7 December 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic B29 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing B-29 Superfortress
Owner/operator:444th BGp /677th BSqn USAAF
Registration: 42-24420
MSN: 4081
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 12
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean -   Indian Ocean
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:Colombo, Ceylon (Sri Lanka)
Destination airport:Colombo, Ceylon (Sri Lanka)
B-29-25-BW 42-24420: Delivered to the USAAF 28 April 1944. Assigned to 677th Bomb Squadron, 444th Bomb Group, USAAF at Dudhkindi, India

Written off (destroyed) when ditched into the Bay of Bengal after ran out of fuel Aug 11, 1944. Returning to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) after a mission to attack an oil refinery at Palembang, Sumatra. All but one of the crew survived and were rescued. According to the following, which is taken from the obituary of the aircraft's commander, Col. Fred T. Furchner:

"Fred’s most notable combat mission took place on the night of August 10-11, 1944. The 444th Bombardment Group flew their B-29 Superfortress aircraft through British air bases in Ceylon (now Sri-Lanka) to attack Plajdoe oil storage facilities on Palemgang on Sumatra in present-day Indonesia (the Japanese controlled the oil storage facilities there at that time). This involved a round trip of 4,030 miles, a 19 hour mission which was the longest American air raid of World War Two.

After bombing the target Fred’s B-29 did not complete the round trip. Mechanical problems forced Fred to ditch his plane in the Indian Ocean while one of his crew broadcast a Mayday distress signal. The tail gunner, one of twelve crew members, was lost. The other eleven men, including Fred, were in rafts for twenty-eight hours. A British Royal Air Force aircraft spotted the men in the rafts dropped them an additional raft with much needed supplies and directed a British Royal Navy destroyer to their position.

At a reunion many years later Fred’s crewmen credited him with saving their lives by orchestrating the rescue operation. The crew asked where in the “hell” he had learned to swim like that to get them out and away from the aircraft and secure them in the rafts. Fred said: “On the Rogue River” in Oregon."

Colonel Fred Thomas Furchner, U.S. Air Force Retired, died peacefully at his home in Eugene, Oregon, on November 8th 2015 at the age of 98.


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Revision history:

03-Jun-2017 23:46 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
03-Jun-2017 23:50 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
07-Jun-2017 22:58 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
23-Mar-2020 17:54 DG333 Updated [Operator, Operator]

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