Long Island Sound – December 3, 1953

Long Island Sound – December 3, 1953

     On the night of December 3, 1953, a Grumman Guardian with two crewmen aboard left the Quonset Point Naval Air Station for a routine training flight.  At about 7:30 p.m., while flying over Long Island Sound, the engine suddenly lost all power and the aircraft went down in the water.  Before it sank, the crew managed to set off emergency signal flares, don Mark IV survival suits, and get into a life raft.  The new survival suits were later credited with saving the men’s lives. 

     The flares were seen by two civil defense aircraft observers on duty in Branford, Connecticut.   Coast Guard and navy authorities were notified and a widespread search was begun.  

     The two crewmen were identified as Ensign James Shapiro, (25) and Aviation Mechanic First Class Donald Sockman, (31). Both were rescued about twelve hours later by a Coast Guard plane and brought to Floyd Bennet Field on Long Island for treatment.           


     Newport Daily News, “2 Quonset Flyers Rescued From Sound After Spending 12 Hours on a Raft”, December 4, 1953.

     Newsday, (Long Island, N.Y.), “Rescued From L.I. Sound, naval Fliers Both In Good Condition”, December 5, 1953 


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