Merrill, IA Bomber Crash, Mar 1944
PLANE CRASH NEAR MERRILL BRINGS DEATH TO CREW.
SIX FLIERS FROM SIOUX CITY BASE KILLED IN ACCIDENT.
Shortly after 5 o'clock Saturday afternoon, a bomber from the Sioux City base circled over LeMars apparently having motor trouble. A few minutes later the bomber crashed and exploded on the Champeny farm a mile south and a half mile east of the Johnston Township Luthern church north of Merrill. Three of the crew parachuted to safety and six were killed when the plane crashed.
Some of those who saw the plane over LeMars said it appeared to be on fire.
While the wreckage of the plane fell on the Champeny farm one motor fell on the Clark farm at least a quarter mile away and a gas tank fell of the Mattas farm across the road from the main wreck.
All of the men who took to their parachutes were uninjured but the six who did not were dead before the rescue squad from the base reached the scene.
Fragments of airplane were scattered over a wide area and people several miles away reported they heard the explosion. Ambulances, a fire engine and officers from the base arrived at the scene shortly after the accident occurred and may have been advised the plane was in trouble.
None of the crew were from this section. The base authorities announced the plane was on a routine training flight and had left the field only a short time before.
LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel Iowa 1944-03-07
TELL NAMES OF DEAD IN IOWA PLANE CRASH.
Sioux City, Ia. (AP) -- Lt. Col. George A. Blakey, station commandant of the Sioux City air base, Sunday announced the names of six crew members killed in the crash of a B-17 Flying Fortress.
Three of the crew parachuted to safety from the bomber which caught fire in the air and crashed in a cornfield five miles north of Merrill, Ia., Saturday.
2nd Lt. JOHN R. EVERET, son of Mrs. Fanny Everet, Portsmouth, O.
Cpl. JOHN L. BRINK, son of Mrs. Sarah Brink, River Forest, Ill.
Cpl. DONALD E. KLINGE, son of Herman Klinge, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Cpl. SAM WONG, son of Tom Wong, Watsonville, Calif.
Cpl. JAMES STEPHENSON, son of Mrs. Edith E. Stephenson, Zanesville, O.
Pfc. LEROY E. MELL, son of Roy L. Mell (no next of kin listed), Jasper, Mo.
The Nebraska State Journal Lincoln 1944-03-06