San Diego, CA Navy Seaplane Crash, Dec 1924
Within half-an-hour a line had been attached to the partly submerged seaplane and it was hauled up to the beach. Davenport, Pautz and Massingill were found unconscious in the wreckage, and the bodies of Lieutenants Varini and Thurston and Chief Machinist Cruell were recovered soon afterward.
The accident was the climax of the worst year that has been experienced by the North Island filers since the Naval Air Service started a flying field here fourteen years ago. Mishap after mishap has occurred, resulting in death and injury to nearly a score of fliers and mechanics.
Lieutenant Varini was born In Genoa, Italy, of Austrian parents, on June 6, 1883. During the World War, he was attached to an American seaplane unit operating on the Italian front. He was said to be one of the finest seaplane pilots in the American naval service and was thoroughly familiar with the type of plane in which he met his death. He entered the Naval Aviation Service as an officer in November 1921. He then was living in the District of Columbia.
Lieutenant Thurston was born in Canada on 6 Oct. 27, 1895, and was appointed to the Naval Academy from New Jersey on June 15, 1910. He came here only a few months ago from the naval air station at Pensacola.
Lieutenant Roby was born in Illinois on Oct. 23, 1898. He was appointed to Annapolis from that state on June 17, 1913. Before entering the aviation service, he was attached to the destroyer USS Jacob Jones. He arrived here from the Pensacola Naval Air Station less than a month ago.
Chief Machinist Mate Cruell was 29- years old. He hailed from Maben, Miss., and first enlisted in the Navy on March 27. 1917.
Radioman Wleczk was 21-years old. He first enlisted on May 20, 1921, at Syracuse, N.Y.
A board of inquiry to determine, if possible, the cause of the accident has been ordered convened by Captain Stanford E. Moses, commanding the aircraft squadrons of the battle fleet. The testimony of the injured men now at the Balboa Park Hospital will form an important part of the report should any of them survive.
Dec. 11, 1924 edition of "The New York Times"