Norwich, CT. – September 26, 1970

Norwich, Connecticut – September 26, 1970

     At about 7:00 p.m. on the evening of September 26, 1970, a young couple from Montville, Connecticut, were flying in a single-engine aircraft over Norwich when the pilot was forced to make an emergency landing on the Shetucket River.  The pilot landed the aircraft so skillfully that there was very little structural damage. 

     The area of the river where the plane came down is reportedly very deep, and 500 to 600 feet wide.  As the aircraft gradually began to sink, the couple climbed on the roof.  By chance, they were rescued by two teenaged boys who lived along the river, and happened to be paddling by on a homemade raft.  


     Providence Journal, “N. Y. Couple Killed – 5 Survive 2 Plane Accidents In Conn.”, September 28, 1970  (This article refers to another accident which occurred in Windham, Connecticut, on the same day.)  

Norwich, CT – September 3, 1913

Norwich, Connecticut – September 3, 1913

Maplewood Cemetery

     The 1913 New London County Fair was held in Norwich, Connecticut, on September 1st, 2nd, & 3rd.  On the last day of the fair, a young aviator identified as Knox Martin was giving demonstration flights of his Curtis bi-plane.  During the course of the day he made four successful flights, taking off from the fair grounds, circling the city, and landing back at the fair.  At 3:00 p.m. he took off on his fifth flight and headed in a southerly direction, but before long his motor started skipping so he turned back towards the fair grounds.  As he was making his approach at an altitude of 700 feet the motor quit and Martin began looking for a clear area to land.  Seeing the Maplewood Cemetery below, he made for it, but as he neared the ground he saw that he was going to collide with a large tree, so he made a sharp turn to avoid it.  While doing so he was pitched from the plane and fell to the ground.  Meanwhile the airplane continued on and wrecked in the cemetery. 

     Surprisingly, Martin only received bumps and burses.  By 3:45 p.m. he was back at the fair grounds waving to cheering crowds.  


     The Day, “Airship Smashed At Norwich Fair”, September 4, 1913.     

Preston, CT – October 19, 1944

Preston, Connecticut – October 19, 1944

Updated January 14, 2019


Hellcat Fighters
U.S. Navy Photo

 On the night of October 19, 1944, Ensign George Kenneth Krause, 22, and Ensign Merle Henry Longnecker, 20, took off from the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field in Rhode Island for a night tactics training flight over Connecticut.  Each was piloting an F6F-5N Hellcat.  The Bu. No. for Ensign Krause’s aircraft was 70519, and Ensign Longnecker was piloting Bu. No. 70826. 

     At about 10:30 p.m., both aircraft were over the Norwich State Hospital area conducting mock interceptions when they were involved in a mid-air collision with each other.  Scattered wreckage fell over a large area, some coming down about one mile northeast of the hospital. Neither pilot survived.        

     Both men were assigned to Carrier Air Service Unit (CASU) 25 at Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field in Rhode Island. 

     Ensign Krause is buried in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.   To see a photo of him, click on the link below.

     Ensign Longnecker was survived by his wife Blanche.  He’s buried in New Rockford, North Dakota. To see a photo of him, click on the link below.

     Ensign Longnecker had survived an earlier aircraft accident only a few days earlier on October 12, 1944.  On that date he was practicing night carrier landings at Charlestown NAAF, while piloting another F6F-5N Hellcat, (Bu. No. 42794).  The weather was foggy with a 700 foot cloud ceiling making for poor visibility.  After making four successful landings and take-offs, he crash-landed while making his fifth approach.  The aircraft was damaged, but he was not hurt.  


     U. S. Navy accident report dated October 19, 1944

     U. S. Navy accident report dated October 12, 1944

     Rhode Island Department Of Health death certificates

     The Norwich Bulletin, “Veterans Group Plans 70th Anniversary Tribute To Pilots killed In Preston Crash”, October 17, 2014 


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