Savannah, GA Airplane Crash, Jul 1953

Ten Die in B-29 Crash in Georgia Swampland

SAVANNAH, Ga. -- (UP) - Search parties, pushing through swampland on flatboats, Saturday reached the scattered wreckage of a B-29 which crashed near here last night with 10 men aboard.

There "was no indication of any survivors," the Air Force reported.

The huge bomber apparently crashed with terrific force in the marshy, almost inaccessible swamp about seven and a half miles south-southwest of Hunter Air Force Base here, home base of the B-29.

The B-29 wreckage was spotted about 9:25 a. m. Saturday by a Navy helicopter which joined in the search. Ground search parties, Navy blimps and Air Force and Navy planes had been scouring the marshland area from which the sound of an explosion was reported heard Friday night.

The wreckage was so widely scattered and buried under dense swamp growth that some pilots flew over the area without seeing it.

Crew members of the plane were identified as:
Airman 2/c GEORGE J. GASSAWAY, Henrietta, Okla.; Maj. ROBERT W. STODDARD, Decatur, Ill.; Capt. LEONARD E. FISER, Marengo, Iowa; First Lt. RALPH R. BAURICHTER, Clarksville, Ark.;
First Lt. WILBURT E. GLANTZ, Cleveland, Ohio; Airman 2/c JOSEPH R. SHIPMAN, Tempa, Fla.; Airman 1/c COURTNEY O. FURNBERG, Fargo, N. D.; Airman 3-c WALTER S. OLFEN, Santa Clara, Calif.; Airman 2/c HOWARD K. AHIGRIM, Vermillion, S. D.; S/Sgt. DONALD S. MALONE, Bennington, Vt.

The radar observer was not identified pending notification of next of kin.

Independent Press-Telegram Long Beach California 1953-07-12


Ten Army Airmen Die In Georgia

Savannah, Ga. -- (AP) - Ten airmen from nearby Hunter Air Force Base died in the thunderous crash of a B-29 bomber into a tangled, murky tidelands Friday night.

The big plane, on a training mission, was shattered to bits, possibly by an explosion, as it slammed into the muck alongside Rock Fish Creek.
The wreck was Hunter's sixth, with a total of 52 fatalities, since the base was reactivated in 1949.

The wreckage was near the mouth of slow-flowing Ageechee River. It was found early Saturday by a helicopter, a unit in a massive search organized when the bomber failed to return to the base Friday night.

Some of the bodies were brought to the air force crash boat base at Thunderbolt later in the day for transfer to the Hunter hospital for an attempt at identification.

The crash scene is hemmed in by marshes and tangled swamp growth and the torn remains had to be lifted out by helicopters and transferred first to shallow-draft flatboats, then to the crash boats.

Lt. EDWARD TIBBY, Hunter information officer, could not say whether all the remains had been found. Identification obviously was a difficult task since the bodies were badly torn and twisted in the crash.

All were presumed dead and the next of kin notified.

The cause of the tragedy was undetermined. A board of officers was named to investigate it.

Ogdensburg Advance New York 1953-07-12