Nantucket, MA. – August 15, 1958

Nantucket, Massachusetts – August 15, 1958 


Vintage Post Card View Of
Northeast Airlines Convair N91237

     On the night of August 15, 1958, Northeast Airlines flight 258 took off from New York’s La Guardia Airport bound for Nantucket, Massachusetts, with thirty-one passengers and a crew of three.  The aircraft was a Convair CV-240-2, (Reg. No. N90670).  

     At about 11:30 p.m., as the plane was making its landing approach to runway 24 at Nantucket Airport it encountered thick fog and low visibility causing the crew to loose sight of the runway.  The plane crashed and burned 1450 feet short of the runway and 600 feet to the right of the center line. 

     Of the 34 people aboard, only nine survived, one being a 2-year-old child.  

     One story of luck connected to this tragedy is of a 14-year-old youth from East Providence, R. I., who was supposed to be aboard the plane.  Instead of taking the flight, he opted to ride with a relative to Wareham, Massachusetts, to visit an aunt.

     Eleven months earlier, on September 15, 1957,  another Northeast Airliner crashed at the New Bedford Airport in New Bedford, Mass.  To learn more, click here: New Bedford September 15, 1957.   


     The Evening Star, (Washington D.C.), “Plane Dives In Fog Over Nantucket”, August 16, 1958.

     The Pawtucket Times, (R. I.), “Nantucket Airliner Crash”, August 16, 1958, pg. 1

     The Pawtucket Times, “East Providence Boy Passed Up Plane”; Dad’s Worries End”, August 16, 1958, pg. 1

     The Nome Nugget, (Alaska), “22 Killed In Northeast Airline Crash Friday”, August 18, 1958, page 5

     The Aviation Safety Network


Nantucket, MA. – April 6, 1945

Nantucket, Massachusetts – April 6, 1945 


     On April 6, 1945, a navy Fg-1D Corsair aircraft, (Bu. No. 76648), was returning to the Nantucket Naval Auxiliary Air Field from a training flight when the engine began to cut out while the aircraft was still at 5,500 feet.  As the pilot came in for an emergency landing the engine lost all power.  The aircraft made a hard landing on the right wing and flipped over on its back.  The pilot suffered non-life-threatening injuries and the aircraft was damaged beyond repair.  

     The pilot was assigned to VBF-92.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated April 6, 1945

Nantucket, MA. – October 18, 1943

Nantucket, Massachusetts – October 18, 1943


North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

     On the morning of October 18, 1943, a navy SNJ-4 Texan trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 27276), was landing in a strong cross wind at the Nantucket Naval Air Station when the aircraft ground-looped just after touching down.  The pilot and his civilian passenger were not injured but the aircraft suffered significant damage.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report #44-9145, dated October 18, 1943. 

Nantucket, MA. – November 20, 1943

Nantucket, Massachusetts – November 20, 1943


U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On the morning of November 20, 1943, a Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless aircraft, (Bu. No. 29034), was approaching the Nantucket Naval Auxiliary Air Field in heavy haze.  Ground fog conditions were also present.  Due to poor visibility, the plane landed half-way down the runway.  The pilot applied the brakes but was unable to prevent the aircraft from running off the runway and into a ditch. The aircraft suffered heavy damage, but the two-man crew was not injured.


     U. S. Navy accident report #44-9838, dated November 20, 1943.     

Nantucket, MA. – June 30, 1964

Nantucket, Massachusetts – June 30, 1964

     On the afternoon of June 30, 1964, a Beech Bonanza, (N782B),  took off from Martha’s Vineyard bound for Nantucket, with two newlywed couples aboard.  The couples had become friendly while honeymooning on Nantucket, where they had rented cottages next to each other on Surfside Road.  Earlier in the day, the four had flown from Nantucket to Martha’s Vineyard, and were on the return trip when something went wrong with the aircraft. The pilot attempted to make an emergency landing at an unused Nantucket golf course known as “The Links”, but the aircraft suddenly nose-dived into the ground.  All aboard were killed.

     One couple was from Warwick, Rhode Island.  The other couple was from Boston.

     Source: The Providence Journal, “Warwick Man, Bride Die In Plane Crash”, July 1, 1964   

Nantucket, MA. – January 11, 1970

Nantucket, Massachusetts – January 11, 1970

     At 9:29 a.m., a U.S. Marine Corps Beechcraft TC-45J training aircraft took off from the South Weymouth Naval Air Station near Boston for a routine training flight to Nantucket island.  There were two men aboard.  The pilot was Captain Robert Girouard, 33.  The other officer was Captain Almon F. Townsend, 30. 

     The airplane made a safe landing at Nantucket Airport and took off again at 11:00 a.m.  Shortly after takeoff, just as the plane reached an altitude of 1,000 feet, the engines suddenly lost all power.  Captain Girouard was able to bring the aircraft in for a crash landing in an open field near the end of the runway.  There was no fire, and neither of the men were hurt. 


     Providence Journal, “2 Marines Escape Training Plane Crash In Mass.”, January 12, 1973  


Off Nantucket – December 10, 1944

Off Nantucket – December 10, 1944


U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat U.S. Navy photo

U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy photo

     On the night of December 10, 1944, a flight of eleven U.S. Navy planes were engaged in practicing night carrier breakups and rendezvous near Nantucket Island.  One of those aircraft, was an F6F-5 Hellcat, (#58277),piloted by Ensign John Daniel Cassidy, 20, of Fighter Squadron 88, (VF-88).  Ensign Cassidy was second section wingman in Lt. John Ignatius Drew’s squadron.  Lt. Drew was also piloting an F6F-5, (#58164). 

     At some point Cassidy and Drew became separated from the group, but their absence wasn’t noted until Cassidy called the flight leader asking for their position.   The position was given, and no further communications from Cassidy or Drew were received.  Neither of the two pilot’s or their aircraft were ever seen again. 

     The night was very dark, but clear, with scattered clouds at 2,000 feet. The pilots were familiar with the area, and investigators determined that the likelihood of them becoming lost was small, and theorized that they may have been involved in a mid-air collision of suffered the effects of vertigo and crashed into the sea.   

     A memorial marker to Ensign Cassidy was erected in Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon, Georgia.  It states he was “lost at sea”.    


     U.S. Navy Crash Briefs for each aircraft/pilot dated December 10, 1944, Memorial# 30180216

Off Nantucket – April 25, 1967

Off Nantucket – April 25, 1967

     At 6:30 p.m. on April 25, 1967, a “radar picket plane” with sixteen men aboard took off from Otis Air Force Base for patrol duty over the Atlantic.  “A half hour later,” it was reported, “eye witnesses heard the plane roaring over their homes at Madaket on the western end of Nantucket.”   

     The plane crashed into the sea off the western end of the island.  A commercial pilot flying in the area saw the plane go down, and said the Air Force pilot had made a deliberate effort to avoid crashing in the center of town.      

     The plane was piloted by Col. James P. Lyle Jr., 47, commander of the 551st Airborne Early Warning and Control Wing based at Otis.

     Of the sixteen men aboard, there was only one survivor: the navigator, Lieut. Joseph H. Guenet, 29, of Montreal.

     To learn more about this accident click here:

     This was the second radar plane out of Otis to be lost within two years.  The other went down in July, 1965, with sixteen lives lost.   


New York Times, “Plane with 16 Crashes Off Coast”, April 26, 1967

New York Times, “Air Force Seeks Survivors Of Crash Off Nantucket”, April 27, 1967

New York Times, “Hope Gone For 13 On Plane”, April 28, 1967

Nantucket, MA – July 5, 1964

Nantucket, Massachusetts  – July 5, 1964

     On July 5, 1964, two honeymooning couples were returning to Nantucket after a day trip to Martha’s Vineyard when their single-engine plane suddenly crashed on a former golf course on Nantucket.  Police Chief Wendell Howe speculated that the aircraft ran out of gas due to a lack of  gasoline fumes at the wreck site. 

     The dead were identified as Charles and Mary C. (Corbett) Cavanaugh of Boston, and Everett and Beverly (Patron) Jones of Warwick, R.I.   Both couples had only been married for three days. 


New York Times, “2 honeymoon Couples Killed In Plane Crash On Nantucket”, July 5, 1964 

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