Haverhill, MA. – April, 1947

Haverhill, Massachusetts – April, 1947

     On or about April 25, 1947, a 22-year-old pilot was flying over the town of Haverhill, Massachusetts, when the engine failed.  Looking for a place to make an emergency landing, he saw the frozen surface of Round Pond, (also known as Pentucket Lake), and began to head for it, but as he approached he saw that numerous children were in the area skating on it.  Rather than risk harming the children, the pilot aimed his plane for nearby Winnekenni Park and crash landed there.  The pilot suffered minor injuries, but the plane was wrecked. 

     Source:  The Bridgton News, (Me.), “Pilot Wrecks His Plane To Save Lives Of 50 Children”, April 25, 1947   

Haverhill, MA. – November 4, 1944

Haverhill, Massachusetts – November 4, 1944


F4U Corsair
US Navy Photo

     On the afternoon of November 4, 1944, Ensign Robert E. McLaughlin, (22), was piloting an F4U-1D Corsair, (Bu. No. 50636), over the town of Haverhill when the aircraft was observed to go into a roll and then dive into the ground at high speed and explode off Hilldale, Avenue. 

     Ensign McLaughlin was assigned to Carrier Air Service Unit 22, (CASU-22) at Quonset Point, Rhode Island.  He enlisted in the Naval Air Corps V-5 program on September 30, 1942, training at Amherst College in Amherst Massachusetts, and further training in North Carolina, Florida. Illinois, and Texas.  He earned his wings at Corpus Christi, Texas, on July 28, 1944.        

     Ensign McLaughlin is buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Haverhill.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/35825894/robert-e-mclaughlin


     U. S. Navy accident report dated November 4, 1944.  


     Haverhill During WWII


Haverhill, MA. – November 9, 1975

Haverhill, Massachusetts – November 9, 1975

     On November 9, 1975, a twin-engine Grumman Widgeon amphibious aircraft was attempting to make an emergency landing on the Merrimack River in Haverhill, when, as one witness later told reporters, it “hit the water like a ton of bricks.”  The force of the impact tore the nose off the plane, and then the aircraft flipped over onto its back and began to sink. 

     The crash occurred less than a mile from the Groveland-Haverhill Bridge.

     John Walsh, 40, and Robert Eskel, 27, witnessed the crash from the boat yard of Abbott’s Marine Services less than one-hundred yards away.  The two of them ran to the riverbank and set out in a small rowboat towards the overturned airplane which was now starting to drift downriver in the current.

     The only persons aboard the aircraft were a 33-year-old father and his 4-year-old son.  Both had suffered broken legs and facial injuries. 

     When Walsh and Eskel reached the plane they pulled the boy aboard as the father clung to its side.  The added weight brought the boat lower in the water.  The airplane sank moments later.     

     Just after Walsh and Eskel had reached the victims, another amphibious aircraft came down and landed in the river and motored over to the boat, and the father was taken aboard the aircraft.

     Meanwhile, Ray Abbott, the owner of the boatyard, arrived on the scene with a motorboat and took the rowboat in tow to shore.  

     The man and his son were transported to a medical facility for treatment.

     It was reported that the Widgeon aircraft was one of 250 built  by Grumman Aircraft for the U.S. navy during WWII, and was worth about $65,000.  


     Boston Globe, “Pilot, Young Son Pulled From Merrimack After Crash”, November 11, 1975

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Father, Son, 4, Rescued After Plane Sinks”, November 10, 1975

     Boston Herald American, “Father, Boy Saved As Plane Crashes”, November 10, 1975

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