New Bedford, MA. – December 11, 1944

New Bedford, Massachusetts – December 11, 1944


F4U Corsair
US Navy Photo

     On December 11, 1944, a navy F4U-1D Corsair, (Bu. No. 82206), made an accidental wheels-up landing at New Bedford NAAF.  The aircraft skidded to a stop and there was no fire.  The pilot was not injured, but the aircraft suffered substantial damage. 

     The aircraft was assigned to Fighter Squadron 10, (VF-10) 


     U. S. Navy accident report dated December 11, 1944.


New Bedford, MA. – December 7, 1944

New Bedford, Massachusetts – December 7, 1944 


F4U Corsair
US Navy Photo

     On December 7, 1944, a pilot was making carrier practice landings at New Bedford NAAF in an F4U-1D Corsair, (Bu. No. 82205).  After making several successful landings, he attempted to make another.  Just before touchdown a strong gust of wind caused the left wing to dip.  The pilot attempted to correct, but the aircraft went into a ditch. The pilot suffered non-life-threatening injuries, and the aircraft was seriously damaged. 

     The pilot was assigned to Fighter Squadron 10, (VF-10).


     U. S. Navy accident report dated December 7, 1944.     

New Bedford, MA – September 15, 1957

New Bedford, Massachusetts – September 15, 1957


     On September 15, 1957, Northeast Airlines Flight 285 took off from Boston’s Logan Airport bound for Hyannis, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, and then on to New Bedford. 

     The aircraft was a Douglas DC-3, (registration N34417).

     When the flight arrived at Martha’s Vineyard it missed it’s first landing approach due to poor weather conditions, but landed safely on the second approach at 8:07 p.m.   It then departed for New Bedford at 8:19 p.m., 50 minutes behind schedule, due to the missed approach and other minor delays.

     The flight headed for New Bedford under instrument flight rules. 

     At 8:38 p.m., Flight 285 began its approach to New Bedford Airport.  According to the Civil Aeronautics Board Accident Investigation Report, weather conditions were as follows: “Indefinite 200, obscuration; visibility one mile; fog; wind southeast 3; altimeter 30-02.”      

     At about 8:46 p.m., Flight 285 radioed New Bedford tower and advised that it had completed the procedure turn, and was inbound over the outer marker approaching runway 5.  The lone air traffic controller on duty acknowledged the transmission.  This was the last communication received from Flight 285.

     The air traffic controller visually waited for the aircraft to appear, and when it did not, realized something was wrong and tried several times to make contact.  It was soon discovered that Flight 285 had crashed in Apponagansett Swamp about 4,000 feet short of the runway. 

     The plane cut a swath 600 feet long through the trees and brush before coming to rest.   Both wings had separated from the fuselage, and the fuselage had broken apart but there was no fire.      

     Rescuers had to wade through thick muck, waist deep water, and undergrowth to reach the survivors.  They used ladders as makeshift bridges to remove the injured.  The last survivor was brought out at 2 a.m.

     One survivor, Mr. Gerald Bland, was credited with saving the life of a stewardess by administering first aid.  He and another survivor, 14-year-old Nancy Blair, also extinguished a small fire which could have ignited the aviation fuel leaking from the fuselage where several other survivors were trapped.  

     Another survivor, a 55-year-old man from New York, told a reporter, “When I came to, believe it or not, I was 30 feet away from the plane.  I was still strapped in my seat with my head down and my feet up looking into a sea of mud. ”   

     Both pilots were killed, as were 10 of the 21 passengers.  The 11 surviving passengers received various injuries.


     Civil Aeronautics Board Accident Investigation Report #1-0102, adopted March 13, 1958, Released, March 19, 1958.

     Woonsocket Call, “New Bedford Plane Crash Kills 10 of 24”, September 16, 1957, pg. 1 (The actual number of fatalities number 12.)  


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