Cape Cod Bay – June 24, 1956

Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts – June 24, 1956   

(And Boston Harbor)

U.S. Air Force F-94 Starfire
U.S. Air Force Photo

      On June 24, 1956, a flight of three Massachusetts National Guard F-94 Starfire fighter jets left Langley Air Force Base in Virginia bound for Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  As the planes neared the New England coast they encountered thick fog and began to circle the area. One of the jets ran low on fuel and the crew was forced to eject while over Cape Cod Bay.  The pilot, Captain Kenneth B. McKay, and the radar observer 1st Lieutenant Harry Crook landed safely.  The aircraft went down in the water. 

     A short time later, a second Starfire in the formation disappeared and was reported as “missing”, and a search was instituted.   The pilot was 1st Lieutenant Robert H. Springer, 28, of Needham, Massachusetts. It was unknown if the pilot bailed out or went down with his aircraft, and as of this writing no further information is known.  

    The third Starfire in the formation landed safely at Otis AFB.

     As part of the search for the missing Starfire, a Coast Guard helicopter with three crewmen aboard was dispatched from the Salem Coast Guard Station.  Search aircraft had to deal with foggy conditions and on coming darkness.  As darkness came on, the helicopter was ordered to land at Logan Airport.  As the helicopter was approaching Logan, it went down in the waters of Boston Harbor a short distance from the end of the airport runway.    

     Two of the crewmen escaped the sinking helicopter and were rescued a short time later, but HM1 John J. Kohan, remained trapped inside and drowned.

     Another accident occurred when a crash-rescue boat from Otis AFB struck a submerged object and began taking on water.  It had to be towed two miles to shore by the Coast Guard. 


     The Woonsocket Call, “Missing Flier In Jet Crash Sought On Cape”, June 25, 1956 


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