Searsport, ME. – October 20, 1947

Searsport, Maine – October 20, 1947   

P-47N Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On October 20, 1947, Major Kenneth G. Smith, (33), of Boise, Idaho, took off from Dow Air Force Base in Bangor, Maine, for a routine training flight.  He was piloting a P-47N Thunderbolt, (Ser. No. 44-89030).

     While ten to twelve thousand feet over the area of the coastal village of Searsport, Major Smith’s aircraft was seen to enter a flat spin and go out of control.  He could have bailed out, but witnesses said he stayed with the plane and watched as he successfully diverted it from crashing into some private homes.  The plane crashed in Mill Brook near Water Street in Searsport, and immediately exploded. 

     The cause of the accident was undetermined. 

     Major Smith was an experienced pilot and WWII veteran.  During the war he achieved Ace status and was credited with downing six enemy planes, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.  At the time of his death he was the Commander  of the 37th Fighter Squadron. 

     To see a photo of Major Smith click on the link below.


     The Evening Star, (Washington, D.C.), “Ace Rides Plane To death To Avoid Ramming Homes”, October 21, 1947, pg. A-8

     The Nome Nugget, (Alaska), “Sacrifices Self To Save Many Lives”, October 22, 1947. 

     The Daily Alaska Empire, no headline, October 20, 1947, pg. 2.


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