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. 

Orange, MA. – August 9, 1970

Orange, Massachusetts – August 9, 1970

Updated July 26, 2018


B-25 Mitchel bomber
U.S. Air Force photo

     On August 9, 1970, a World War II  B-25 Mitchel with a civilian registration was at Orange Airport in Orange, Massachusetts in preparation for delivery to a new owner in Rochester, New York.  The pilot was making a series of five touch-and-go landings to test the aircraft prior to making the journey.  On the second landing the aircraft suddenly veered to the left and cartwheeled onto the grass where it exploded and burned, killing the 36-year-old pilot.   As the plane went out of control, it barely missed striking a bystander watching the landings.

     The pilot was identified as Roger N. Lopez, of Northfield, Massachusetts.

     Witnesses reported that the aircraft appeared to be having engine trouble as the pilot was attempting the second landing.   

     Firefighters from several surrounding communities responded to the accident.  One firefighter from Orange was slightly overcome by fumes.


     The Providence Journal, (R.I.), “World War II Bomber Crash In Mass. Kills Pilot.”, August 10, 1970, (Two photos with article.)     




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