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Andover, NB Bomber Explodes In Flight, Jan 1957

B52 EXPLODES IN FLIGHT; SEARCHERS FIND 7 BODIES.

PILOT'S EYES SHIELDED IN TEST.

Andover, N.B. (AP) -- Frozen woodlands near here were searched today for one Air Force man still missing from the crew of an eight-engine B52 bomber which exploded in flight yesterday. Seven bodies were found and one man parachuted with minor injuries.
Hundreds of Air Force men, Royal Canadian Mounted Police and French - Canadian trappers and guides, warmly garbed against temperatures which went far below zero, hunted for the missing man.
A spokesman from the jet plane's Loring Air Force base at Limestone, Maine, said the man may have parachuted. He said two parachutes were reported seen by residents of the area but that "they lost sight of one of them."
The spokesman said Capt. RICHARD A. JENKINS, the commander of the craft and one of those killed, was at the controls, his head partially covered by a visor-type hood used in reflex tests. With the covering the pilot can see the instrument panel but cannot see outside the plane.
Six bodies were recovered in the wreckage or the deep snow yesterday. A seventh was found in part of the plane early today by searchers carrying portable lamps.
Several hours after the crash of the B52 jet bomber, an Air Force B29 crashed on landing at Bergstrom Air Force Base, near Austin, Tex., killing six crewmen and injuring three others.
The public information office at Loring identified five of the seven victims of the Andover crash as:

Capt. RICHARD A. JENKINS, the aircraft commander, Huron, Ohio.
Capt. WILLIAM C. DAVIDSON, Stockton, Calif.
Capt. JOHN E. McCUNE, Hayward, Calif.
Capt. MARQUID H. D. MYERS, Tracy, Calif.
T. Sgt. RAY A. MILLER, Racine, Wis.
All were married and all but DAVIDSON had children.
The only known survivor was:
1st Lt. JOE L. CHURCH, Charlotte, N.C.
A spokesman at Loring said a team of Air Force flight safety experts from Norton AFB near San Bernardino, Calif., and officials of the Boeing Airplane Co., would take part in an investigation of the crash. Boeing builds the eight-million-dollar, swept-wing B52s.
Brig. Gen. William K. Martin, Loring Commander, said in a statement "an unusual maneuver may have resulted in exceeding the flight limitations of the aircraft."
In Washington, the Air Force said the pilot was undergoing a reflex test wherein the flyer's eyes are partly shielded and the plane put into an "unusual position. The pilot then must right the craft.
The Washington spokesman said the plane apparently had been "placed in a position beyond its capability."
The plane was the fourth B52 lost by the Air Force on training flights since February 1956.

Comments

Ray Miller

Thank you for responding to my sisters inquiry Dave. I was just doing some research myself and fell upon this article and the comments below it. My mother was 4 and her brother was 2 at the time of the crash. My mom, her brother, grandmother and sister all visited the crash site years ago (just before 1996ish?). They met up with some people in the area who remembered the crash and who were on the search crew as well. One gentleman by the name of Roy (last name?) was one of the very first to arrive at the crash site and tried to help but was quickly shooed off by the Air Force once they swooped in. They covered the site in dirt after they recovered the bodies. Roy went back months later with a metal detector and was able to recover my grandfathers dog tags, lighter and a lucky coin he carried on him.
A very sad story about how hard my grandmother took his loss... She was never the same. It is difficult not to think about how drastically different life would have been for them all had he survived.
Thank you for taking the time to respond to my sisters post. On a side note... she happened to be born on the same day of our grandfathers passing (obviously decades later).

Ray was on my Pop's B-52 crew - still remember him like family

Hello, Ray Miller's granddaughter. He was on Pop's crew. I remember Ray. My Dad, Kenneth Robert Wiederhold, was a Captain at the time He was Ray's usual Aircraft Commander. Ray was on loan to the unfortunate crew so they would have enough for their mission. I was 9 at the time of his loss and still repeat his name with the fond feeling of remembering family. Aircrews were like that in those days. I regarded them all as "uncles" and their wives as "aunts" and their kids my "cousins". Mom Weed and I have been searching the internet for more information about Ray as were were recalling our old Air Force times and were tickled to discover your note and others in remembrance of him. I found his picture among those who were lost that day, and instantly recognized his familiar face. While remembering Ray through the years, Mom recalled how hard Mrs. Miller took his loss, of course. Mom tells how much Pop tried to help and console her. Too heartbreaking and tough to feel successful in this, he helped me know... can only "be there" for the grieving. There's little one can say, it seems. I've included my email in this form, assuming it will be available to you. I am Dave Wiederhold, a retired USAF LtCol as Pop.

B-52 crash, Perth Andover.

Hello there,

I have recently been doing some research on the B-52 crash that took place near Morrill Siding in 1957. I understand that you were on the search crew when the crash happened and I was hopping that maybe you could help me with the coordinates of the crash site. I live in Perth Andover and hope to hike out to the site to document it on film for my website. If you could could perhaps circle the general area on a map and send me a picture or just give out coordinates to the site I could use my GPS to get there. You can respond to me at (plymouthgtx679@gmail.com) any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you,

Brandon

Loring crash

Hi there David,

I am Leroy McCarthy from Grand Falls, NB. I grew up right on the Canadian / US boarder less than ten miles from Loring. I am 47 years old and have heard many stories about the crash.

The plane actually went down between Limestone siding Canada and Morel Siding Canada. Very close to my grand mothers house. One of my Uncles, Mertin Morel, was cutting wood with his brother the day of the accident. Mertin and his brother actually brought out the loan survivor of the crash on a sled pulled by a team of horses.

I know alot of people that know alot of what happened at the time.

I actually collect antiques and was able to acquire a part of cockpit panel from that crash.

If you want some additional information feel free to ask. My email is leroynat@bellaliant.net

Leroy McCarthy

Wife wife is the

Wife wife is the grand-daughter of Marquid Myers. We have found it very difficult to find out any information about the crash. If there is any information you could share with us about that day it would be very helpfull.
Thank you,
David

nb bomber explodes in flight jan 1957

My wife is the grand-daughter of Marquid Myers. We have tried to find information on this plane crash but have found it very difficult to get much information. If there is anything you can tell us about that day, anything at all, we would greatly appreciate it.
Thank you,
David

Lorning B52 Crash

This crash happened when I was a little girl, My Dad was Capt. Ben Bell, who was a pilot on the B52's. I am just in the process of recording some of my experiences during that period of my life and have been researching information on this crash and one other that happened at Loring during the time that Dad was stationed there. Reading the article was the first time I had heard about the visor and possible connection with the crash. But I can say that it was just part of the training for this aircraft and did not, more than likely cause the crash. It would have been mechanical failure of the plane due to stress from the training maneuver. And it was an explosion, my brother witnessed it when his class was out on the playground for recess. All of those that were out saw what happened. Harold had actually asked my Mom that morning before he left for school who had been killed in the plane crash and Mom told him there had not been one. He proceeded to tell her that he had seen it while at recess, he witnessed the crash prior to the event, in a dream that he thought was real. And then that day the plane exploded as the kids watched. I decided to share this with you, thought you might like to know this small piece of the story. I do remember going with Mom and Dad to the enlisted housing quarters when they visited what must have been your grandparents house. I don't know how long we were there but in times of other crashes through Dad's career they always went to the families to offer support. I believe that one of Dad's crew members was actually on that flight and could have been why we were there but I am not sure.

1957 B52 crash

Dear Stu,
I am the granddaughter of Ray Miller. I am curious as to why covering the eyes of the pilot during flight would lead to an in air explosion and was wondering if you or anyone else could provide some insight into this.
Thanks so much for your post. I recently looked for the name of my grandfather on the portable memorial wall only to discover the wall only included active servicemen who died in the designated "war area" of the time. It is nice to know that my grandfather's service and death during such is recorded and recognized somewhere.

Search Team

I was one of the Aimen who searched the crash site that very cold January so many years ago. If you would like me to give you details of that day I would be glad to answer any questions you may have.

Clair Taylor

Search Crew

I was one of those Airmen who went out on a search party in the bitter cold that January. I remember vividly the smell of jet fuel and the total disintergration of that aircraft. Such a tragedy. I was only 19 and remember the details to this day. That was 54 years ago!. The search party next to us found one of the crew still in his seat, frozen and lifeless. It was talked about and discussed for months after. The only B-52 ever lost of Loring I believe. My deepest sympathy for those of you who lost relatives and family membes.



article | by Dr. Radut