Cape Cod Bay – June 24, 1956

Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts – June 24, 1956   

(And Boston Harbor)

U.S. Air Force F-94 Starfire
U.S. Air Force Photo

      On June 24, 1956, a flight of three Massachusetts National Guard F-94 Starfire fighter jets left Langley Air Force Base in Virginia bound for Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  As the planes neared the New England coast they encountered thick fog and began to circle the area. One of the jets ran low on fuel and the crew was forced to eject while over Cape Cod Bay.  The pilot, Captain Kenneth B. McKay, and the radar observer 1st Lieutenant Harry Crook landed safely.  The aircraft went down in the water. 

     A short time later, a second Starfire in the formation disappeared and was reported as “missing”, and a search was instituted.   The pilot was 1st Lieutenant Robert H. Springer, 28, of Needham, Massachusetts. It was unknown if the pilot bailed out or went down with his aircraft, and as of this writing no further information is known.  

    The third Starfire in the formation landed safely at Otis AFB.

     As part of the search for the missing Starfire, a Coast Guard helicopter with three crewmen aboard was dispatched from the Salem Coast Guard Station.  Search aircraft had to deal with foggy conditions and on coming darkness.  As darkness came on, the helicopter was ordered to land at Logan Airport.  As the helicopter was approaching Logan, it went down in the waters of Boston Harbor a short distance from the end of the airport runway.    

     Two of the crewmen escaped the sinking helicopter and were rescued a short time later, but HM1 John J. Kohan, remained trapped inside and drowned.

     Another accident occurred when a crash-rescue boat from Otis AFB struck a submerged object and began taking on water.  It had to be towed two miles to shore by the Coast Guard. 


     The Woonsocket Call, “Missing Flier In Jet Crash Sought On Cape”, June 25, 1956 


Cape Cod Bay – September 11, 1944

Cape Cod Bay – September, 11, 1944


F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On September 11, 1944, Ensign Henry Karl Klein was piloting a F6F-3 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 41497), over Cape Cod Bay while participating in a dive bombing training exercise.  He was seen to begin his dive run from 7,000 feet.  His section leader would later report that he saw pieces of Klein’s aircraft break away during the dive.  A fisherman who’d been watching the exercise from a distance later told investigators that he saw a wing break off the aircraft just before it hit the water.  Ensign Klein’s aircraft plunged into the water and he did not survive. 

     The cause of the accident was determined to be structural failure of the aircraft for reasons unknown.   

     Ensign Klein had been assigned to VF-48.


     U. S. Navy Accident Report, dated September 11, 1944    

Otis Field – April 23, 1946

Otis Field, Massachusetts – April 23, 1946


SB2C Helldiver
U.S. Navy Photo

     At 4:36 p.m., on the afternoon of April 23, 1946, a navy SB2C Helldiver, (Bu. No. 85265), was coming in to land at Otis Field in Falmouth, Massachusetts, when the aircraft stalled on approach and crashed, ending up on its back and bursting into flames.  The pilot was rescued, but suffered severe burns and a lacerated scalp.   

     The pilot had come from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island and was assigned to Fighter Bomber Squadron 18, (VB-18).

     There was nobody else aboard the aircraft at the time of the accident.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated April 23, 1946.   

Cape Cod Bay – May 8, 1944

Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts – May 8, 1944


TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the afternoon of May 8, 1944, a TBM-1C Avenger, (Bu. No. 25500), was participating in a bomb-depth charge training flight over Cape Cod Bay.  The aircraft was carrying some 100 lb. bombs equipped with instantaneous fuses, and some depth charges equipped with 5-second delay fuses.  At 4:10 p.m., the pilot began a bomb run during which one of the bombs caused a fire in the bomb-bay.  As flames gushed forth from the open bomb-bay doors, the rest of the ordinance was jettisoned.  The aircraft was then seen to enter a steady glide and crash into the water.  The aircraft sank taking all aboard with it. 

     The navy identified the crew as follows:

     Pilot: Lt.(Jg.) Norwood H. Dobson, (27).  To see a photo of him, go to, view memorial #53923003.

     Gunner: AOM3/c John William Dahlstrom

     Radio Operator: ARM3/c Arthur N. Levesque 

     The crew was assigned to VT-7. 

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report #44-13855, dated May 8, 1944. 

Barnstable, MA. – May 23, 1981

Barnstable, MA. – May 23, 1981

     At about 6:00 a.m. on the morning of May 23, 1981, a twin-engine Beechcraft with a pilot and a freight handler aboard took off from Barnstable Airport with a cargo of produce and newspapers bound for Martha’s Vineyard.  Just after becoming airborne, the engines lost all power and the plane crashed within 75 feet of a private home on Yarmouth Road and exploded on impact killing both crewmen.  Nobody in the home was injured.


     Providence Sunday Journal, “Pilot And Passenger Die In Cape Cod Plane Crash”, May 24, 1981, page A-3  

Off Provincetown, MA. – June 14, 1980

Off Provincetown, Massachusetts – June 14, 1980

     Shortly before 3:00 p.m. on June 14, 1980, a Cessna Centurion with four people aboard left Provincetown Airport for an unknown destination.   At the time of its departure, bad weather was closing in fast, and low cloud cover blanketed the area.  Not log after leaving the airport, the Cessna was seen to come out of the low clouds in an upside-down position, and crash into the water about 800 yards off Race Point Beach, which is a short distance from the airport.  All four people aboard perished. 


     Providence Evening Bulletin, “4 New York Residents Killed In Airplane Crash Off Cape Cod”, June 16, 1980, page A-6


Barnstable, MA. – June 6, 1976

Barnstable, MA. – June 6, 1976

     On the morning of June 6, 1976, two off-duty Massachusetts police officers left Tewksbury in a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza bound for Hyannis to attend a breakfast for the Massachusetts Association of Police Pilots.  One officer was a member of the Wilmington Police, and the other the Malden Police.  At about 12:30 p.m., the pair took off from Hyannis to return to Tewksbury.  Just after takeoff the plane was seen diving to the ground where it crashed off Marston’s Lane in the Cummiquid section of Barnstable.  Both men were killed.  The cause of the accident was not stated.


     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Two Pilot Policemen Killed In Plane Crash”, June 7, 1976, page B-10

Off Truro, Ma. – June 26, 1976

Off Truro, Massachusetts – June 26, 1976

     On June 26, 1976, a Cessna 172 with four people aboard, (two men, and two women), was in-route to Provincetown, Massachusetts, when it crashed in the ocean off the shore of Truro while flying in thick fog conditions.  All aboard perished.  The following day three bodies washed ashore at a beach in Truro, and a fourth was found later in the day by divers.  The aircraft wreckage was also located. 

     The aircraft had a Canadian registration of CF-QNG.     


     Aviation Safety Network, Wikibase #6504 

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Bodies Of Crash Victims Wash Ashore At Truro”, June 28, 1976, page B-9

Atlantic Ocean – August 30, 1972

Atlantic Ocean – August 30, 1972


     On August 30, 1972, a Beechcraft Musketeer took off from Provincetown, Massachusetts, bound for Beverly, Massachusetts, with four men aboard, and crashed into the water enroute.  On man was rescued, but the aircraft and the other three men remained missing.

     Three years later, on June 3, 1975, a fishing boat dragging its nets about ten miles off shore of Cape Cod brought up a portion of the fuselage.    

     Source: Providence Evening Bulletin, “Plane Fuselage Found 3 Years After Crash”, June 4, 1975.

Harwich, MA. – November 24, 1944

Harwich, Massachusetts – November 24, 1944

     Shortly after 8:00 a.m. on the morning of November 24, 1944, Ensign R. N. Kelly of Philadelphia, Penn., was piloting  a single engine aircraft 20,000 feet over Cape Cod when the engine suddenly caught fire.  Knowing he was over a populated area, he stayed with the aircraft until he was able to direct it towards a wooded area, and then bailed out at 3,000 feet.  The plane crashed in the woods near Bassett’s Pond and exploded.  Nobody on the ground was injured. Ensign Kelly sprained his ankle upon landing, but suffered no serious injury.

     The type of aircraft was not stated.

     Ensign Kelly had taken off from Otis Field in Falmouth, Massachusetts.

     Source: Cape Cod Standard Times, “Navy Plane falls At North Harwich”, November 24, 1944, page 1 

Hyannis, MA – November 20, 1944

Hyannis, Massachusetts – November 20, 1944

     Very little information about this accident.

     On November 20, 1944, Ensign Andrew Charles Butko, 24, was killed in an aircraft crash at what was listed as “Cape Cod Airport” in Hyannis.  (This was likely present-day Barnstable Municipal Airport in Hyannis, Mass.)   

     Ensign Butko was assigned to Quonset Point Naval Air Station at the time of his accident.  He’s buried in McKeesport, Penn.

     Source: Rhode Island Department Of Health death certificate

Sandwich, MA – August 29, 1961

Sandwich, Massachusetts – August 29, 1961 


RB-57F.  The U.S. Version of the English Electric Canberra.  U.S. Air Force Photo.

RB-57F. The U.S. Version of the English Electric Canberra. U.S. Air Force Photo.

     On August 29, 1961, Major Harold D. LaRoche, 27, took off from Otis Air Force Base in Falmouth, Massachusetts, in a Martin B-57 Canberra en-route to Andrews Air Force base in Virginia.  (He was the only person aboard.)

     Shortly after take off  LaRoche radioed Otis tower that he had an emergency and turned back towards the base.  On his approach he crashed in the Forestdale section in the town of Sandwich, Massachusetts.  The plane exploded and the major was killed. 

     Major LaRoche was assigned to Ent Air Force base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and had been on a cross-country flight.     



Falmouth Enterprise, (Photo) “Wreckage Of Bomber Which Crashed In Forrestdale”, September 1, 1961

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