Fedora, SD Bombers Collide In Air, June 1943

Fedora SD B-17 Collision 6-13-1943.JPG



Fedora, S.D. -- (AP) -- Collision of two four-engined army bombers near here Sunday, which sent the 10 airmen of the one craft to death in their flaming plane, was under investigation Monday.
Nine of the 10 men in the second plane were injured when it landed in trouble after the accident but attendants of Mitchell hospitals where eight were taken said none was in serious condition.
Capt. F. E. Schick, public relations officer at the Sioux City army air base, to which the planes were attached, announced investigation was under way.
He declined details but Miss Ella Esser, Howard telephone operator, said a Lieutenant Fuller of the plane in which the men were injured reported that the two planes and a third not involved in the accident were flying in formation just before the collision.
William Gullickson, farmer living about 4 1/2 miles southeast of here, gave a graphic eyewitness account.
The three planes were flying in a tight "V" formation, he said, when he first saw them while he was fishing about 4 o'clock Sunday afternoon at Twin lake near his home.
As he watched, with a brother, Pete, and a neighbor, E. H. Johansen, the planes apparently started to change formation. One seemed momentarily to be above the other, Gullickson reported and then the two heavy bombers collided and the tail assembly dropped from the upper.
"The plane without the tail started to earth," Gullickson said, "then zoomed upward, did a half loop and flew on its back for a mile and a half before crashing and burning."
Back at the Gullickson house, Mrs. Johansen, visiting there, saw the tail assembly crash 100 feet from the Gullickson farm buildings. The body of one of the airmen also fell there, about 200 rods from the Gullickson barn, Mrs. Johansen said.
Bodies of the nine other men were removed from the charred wreckage of the craft after it crashed in hay land on the farm of Frank Hart, Fedora rural mail carrier.
The second plane in the collision flew southeast several miles before coming down nine miles west of Canova. In addition to its eight men treated in Mitchell hospitals, observers said one man parachuted safely from this plane. The tenth occupand was said to be the pilot of the ship, the Lieutenant FULLER with whom Miss Esser talked at Howard. He had a bandaged head but was not hospitalized.
There was nothing available immediately on names of those killed.

The Bismarck Tribune North Dakota 1943-06-14

Listing of Fatalities:
Lt. O. B. GROVES, 23, pilot.
2nd Lt. MICHAEL R. HRIC, co-pilot.
2nd Lt. ROY B. LEVER, navigator.
2nd Lt. JAMES J. O'CONNELL, navigator.
S/Sgt. RODNEY T. CASSIDY, Bombardier.
Sgt. SIDNEY S. PACKER, Radio Operator.
S/Sgt. DEAN M. GARLAND, engineer.
S/Sgt. MURRY V. WHITEHEAD, Radio operator.
S/Sgt. MARVIN J. CURTIS, Gunner.
S/Sgt. BRUNO E. TWARDY, Gunner.