Fall River, MA. – May 29, 1954

Fall River, Massachusetts – May 29, 1954


B-25 Mitchel bomber
USAF Museum photo

     On the morning of May 29, 1954, a B-25 Mitchell Bomber, (Ser. No. 44-31321), with four men aboard, took off from Otis Air Force Base in Falmouth, Massachusetts, bound for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.  A short time later the left engine caught fire and the plane began loosing altitude.  Fog and low clouds obscured the ground creating low visibility as the pilot attempted to make an emergency landing at Fall River Airport.  As the pilot attempted to line up on a runway the B-25 crashed in a wooded area about one mile east of the airport.  The wings and fuselage broke apart but there was no fire. 

     The pilot, 1st Lieutenant Henry D. Woltz, was killed.  The co-pilot, 1st Lt. T. T. Monutz, and the crew chief, Airman 2/c Edward Crowther, were seriously injured.  A passenger aboard, Captain Joseph Smith, was able to drag the co-pilot from the gasoline soaked wreck.  He then made his way towards the airport for help. 


     Fall River Herald News, “Airman Is Killed In Plane Crash Here”, May 29, 1954, page 1, with photo.    

     The Provincetown Advocate, (no headline), June 3, 1954. 

Fall River, MA. – December 14, 1991

Fall River, Massachusetts – December 14, 1991 

     On the evening of December 14, 1991, a lone 57-year-old pilot was making his way from Bowling Green, Kentucky, to Fall River in a twin-engine Piper Apache, (Reg. N4959P).   He made the trip without stopping in 5 hours and 40 minutes.  As he was approaching the Fall River area he encountered darkness, rain, thick fog, and strong wind conditions which caused low visibility.  At about 6:30 p.m. the aircraft crashed and burned in a wooded section of the Freetown State Forest about a mile from the airport.  The pilot was killed instantly.  Searchers located the wreckage at 4:30 a.m. the following morning.              


     Providence Journal, “Perfect Pilot Dies As He Tries To Land Plane”, December 16, 1991, page A-1

     Aviation Safety Network #40065


Fall River, MA. – June 4, 1989

Fall River, Massachusetts – June 4, 1989 

     On the evening of June 4, 1989, a 30-year-old man took off from a runway at the Fall River Airport in a home-built ultralight “gyrocopter” aircraft.  A few seconds after take off, when at an altitude of between 50 to 60 feet, the aircraft suddenly dove to the ground.  Several witnesses ran to aid the pilot and began CPR, but the pilot did not survive.  The accident was videotaped by the pilot’s girlfriend.   

     Source: Providence Journal, “Pilot Killed In Gyrocopter Crash”, June 6, 1989, page E-3.  

Fall River, MA. – July 21, 1985

Fall River, Massachusetts – July 21, 1985

     On July 21, 1985, a single-engine Bellanca Decathlon, (N5504B), with a lone pilot aboard, took off from the Fall River Airport for the purpose of picking up an advertising banner and flying over the Fall River area with it.  The banner was lying to the side of the runway, with the front end of it suspended about 20 feet off the ground between two poles.  The Bellanca circled the field and came in low to catch the front end of the banner.  This was done successfully, and immediately afterward the aircraft began a steep climb so the banner would clear the trees at the end of the runway.  According to witnesses, the plane suddenly stalled and fell into a thickly wooded area about 90 feet west of the main runway where it exploded into flames. 

     Two men immediately got into a truck and drove to the edge of the woods, and then made their way to the crash site, but there was nothing they could do.  The pilot had been killed instantly.  


     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Pilot Dies In crash In Fall River – Plane Stalls While Picking Up Advertising Banner”, July 22, 1985, page A-4.

     Aviation Safety Network

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