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1st Lt James H. McClendon and his crew of of seven set out on a routine sea patrol from their home base at Wheeler on the morning of 16 December 1942.  After less than two hours, the number two engine began missing and running rough.  Lt. McClendon decided to abort the mission and return to base.  An hour and a half later, after ordering fuel transfer from the bomb bay tanks to the main tanks, an apparent overflow of fuel in the bomb bay led to an explosion, which engulfed the aircraft in flames.  Three of the crew members managed to bail out of the stricken craft and the other five perished in the ensuing crash.  The wreckage is strewn over a fairly large area, indicating a breakup in flight prior to impact.    HAPS will plan a memorial to be placed  at Wheeler Field rather than near the crash site because of the remoteness of the site.

Click here for the aircraft accident report and the testimony of the surviving crewmembers


The pictures below were taken by a HAPS survey crew recently

This oxygen bottle had washed a few hundred yards downstream

With the end overgrown in moss, this was the largest piece we saw

One of the carburetors

Part of a crumpled wing and fuselage section

A hydraulic actuator for one of the doors

Part of an engine in the stream bed

Another engine against a tree

Errol and a fuselage section

Partially buried fuselage piece

Crumpled fuselage

Fuselage and wing section

Other view of wing and fuselage

Forward Fuselage area

Detached cylinder head

Another detached jug

Main gear assembly

Main tire buried in mud

A portion of the star emblem

Broken propellor and spinner assembly

Scott with one of the wing tips

Other side of wing tip

Unknown part

Tip of right vertical stabilizer

Other side of vertical stabilizer


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