New Brusnwick, Canada – October 4, 1989

Updated July 5, 2020

New Brunswick, Canada – October 4, 1989

     At 6:00 a.m. on the morning of October 4, 1989, a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Strato-Tanker based at Loring Air Force Base in Limestone, Maine, was returning to base after a six hour refueling operation over Canada when the aircraft suddenly exploded in a massive fireball.  Debris was scattered over a wide area, but the main portion of the plane came down about two miles northwest of Perth-Andover, just to the east of the U.S./Canadian Boarder.  All four crewmen aboard were killed.

     The dead were identified as:

     (Pilot) Lt. Col. Wiliam H. Northcutt, 42, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

     (Co-Pilot) Captain Robert D. Weinman, 27, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

     (Navigator)  2nd Lt. Albert H. Taft, 25, of Urbana, New York.

     (Boom Operator) Airman 1st Class Jack D. Cupp, 24, of Athens, Tenn.        

     Investigators determined that the reason for the explosion was an overheated fuel pump which reached 1,435 degrees Fahrenheit, but  they were unable to pinpoint the exact cause.


     Bangor Daily News, “Loring Tanker Explodes In Air”, October 5, 1989, pg. 1

     Fort Fairfield Review, “KC-135A Crash Blamed On Refueling Pump”, February 28, 1990, page 1.

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