Swampscott, MA – September 29, 1950

Swampscott, Massachusetts – September 29, 1950  


F-86 Sabre – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the afternoon of September 29, 1950, Lieutenant Thomas Finney was flying an F-86A Sabre (49-1090) in formation with three other Sabres as part of a training exercise when his jet suddenly lost power.  This occurred while the formation was at 20,000 feet and over the Atlantic Ocean off Boston. 

     Finney alerted the flight leader, Lieutenant Jack Schwab, that he had an emergency, and Schwab led him towards shore while giving instructions in the use of the ejection seat.  Just before ejecting at 3,500 feet, Finney turned the jet towards open water. 

     Finney landed in a tree near the town of Marblehead, and climbed down unhurt.  After finding a telephone, he contacted the Coast Guard Air Base in Salem which sent a helicopter to retrieve him. 

     The Sabre crashed on Phillips Beach in Swampscott scattering debris and live .50 caliber ammunition all along the sand.  Nearly 5,000 curious onlookers descended on the area, but were held at bay by police.

     The flight of Sabres was attached to the 58th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron of the 33rd Fighter-Interceptor Group based at Otis Air Force Base.  


Falmouth Enterprise, “Pilot Parachutes To Safety As Jest Fighter Crashes” October 6, 1950.






Nahant, MA – September 4, 1907

Nahant, Massachusetts – September 4, 1907


     At 8:30 p.m. on September 4, 1907, Boston aeronaut John J. Maloney, took off in his hot-air balloon from Nahant, Massachusetts, before a cheering crowd.  During night ascensions, Maloney liked to fly his balloon suspended from a trapeze.  On this occasion, as the balloon was rising, a sudden and unexpected foggy mist blew in and enveloped the balloon.  A current of cold air then carried it northwest over Nahant Bay towards Lynn and Swampscott.  The balloon came down in the water between Nahant and Lynn, about two miles off Fisherman’s Beach in Swampscott.  High winds then pulled it back and forth across the water with Maloney holding on for his life for more than an hour. 

     Maloney’s cries for help were finally heard by several fishermen at Swampscott, Massachusetts, a town next to Lynn, and they headed out in their boats to search.   Word was sent to the Nahant Lifesaving Station which also sent a boat.  Maloney was located clinging to the fabric of his half-deflated balloon, cold and exhausted, but alive. 

     Once on shore Maloney related that the balloon had collapsed sooner than he’d expected while drifting in the cold breeze, for he’d expected to be in the air for about an hour. 


     (Woonsocket) Evening Call, “Balloonist Fell Into The Sea”, September 15, 1907, Pg. 7   

     The Lake County Times, (Hammond, Indiana), Evening Edition, September 5, 1907 

     New York Tribune, “Aeronaut Near Death”, September 5, 1907 

     The Washington Herald, “Balloonist Falls Into Sea”, September 5, 1907

Off Swampscott, MA – March 30, 1943

Off Swampscott, Massachusetts – March 30, 1943


U.S. Navy SBD auntless National Archives Photo

U.S. Navy SBD auntless
National Archives Photo

     On March 30, 1943, the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Ranger was off the coast of Massachusetts en-route to the Boston Navy Yard for re-fitting.   As such, the Ranger’s compliment of aircraft were to be sent inland, their final destination to be Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island.    

     One of those aircraft from the Ranger was an SBD-4 Dauntless, (#06826), piloted by Lieutenant Lykes M. Boykin.  As Lt. Boykin neared shore, the engine began running rough due to ice build-up in the carburetor.  After trying several measures to clear the ice, he was forced to ditch in the water off the town of Swampscott.   

     As the plane sank in 45 feet of water, Boykin and his radioman (2c) H. H. Reed escaped in an inflatable life raft, and were rescued a short time later by a Coast Guard boat from nearby Winter Island. 

     At the time of this accident, Lt. Boykin was assigned to VB-42 aboard the Ranger.  Later in the war he would be promoted to commanding officer of Fighting Squadron 4 aboard the U.S.S. Essex.   


     U.S. Navy Crash Brief, #43-6399

     Lynn Telegram, “Plane Falls Into Sea Off Swampscott Shore”, March 31, 1943

     Lynn Telegram News, “Rescue Pair In Navy Plane After Crash, “March 31, 1943, page 11


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