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Fly High and Fast – Fly High and Fast – Vol. I: Chapter 3 – B-17 Bomber Crashes near Denison, IA USA in 1944

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JJ Meehan
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The Meehan Family

The following is from “The Denison Bulletin” dated May 11th, 1944.

Sandy Haynes
Assistant Director
Norelius Community Library
Denison, Iowa USA  51442
Phone:  712-263-9355
E Mail:  denlib@frontiernet.net



Pilotless Ship Roars Over City Early Wednesday . . .

An abandoned Flying Fortress from the Sioux City army air base crashed in the hills west of here about 1:30 Wednesday morning after flying four hours over sections of two states and roaring over Denison at tree-top levels while its gasoline supply was being exhausted.

The B-17 crashed more than 100 miles from where its crew of ten men and a bombardier instructor bailed out at 10 p. m. Tuesday when fire broke out in one of the plane’s engines.

Windows Battled

As the ship’s gas supply was causing the motors to sputter and mar the huge “Fort” settled closure to earth and is believed to have made more than one passing over Denison at low levels, awakening residents who reported windows rattling by the reverberation.

Those who arose to investigate reported seeing the ship travel over Denison at low levels in the bright moonlight and surmised it crashed when it settled lower northwest of here.


The plane struck the side of a hill on the Emil Vogt farm two miles west of here at the junction of Highways 59 and 141. All four propellers were torn from the bomber and one engine was ripped loose as the ship skidded 175 yards before coming to a rest in the ravine. There was considerable, other damage to- the plane.

800-Mile Flight

Although the place where the men parachuted from the plane and where it crashed is only 100 miles, army officials estimate the : Fortress might have traveled eight hundred miles as it cruised about over eastern Nebraska, and western ‘Iowa. The plane was flying about 5.000 feet when the men bailed eat, it was reported. All members of the crew were reported safe early Wednesday morning with two, including the pilot, suffering broken leg’s as they parachuted to earth in the night. The fliers came down in the vicinity of Wayne and Belden, Neb., a distance of 12 miles. First to be called to the scene of the crash were Sheriff N. P. Cavett and Deputy H. P. Greene, but directions given them as to where the plane struck were vague and the officials spent some time locating the wreckage which could not be seen from the main highway.

Members of the civil air patrol here were summoned to help guard the site and Col. George A. Blakely, commander of the Sioux City base, sent a teachment of military police to guard the wreckage pending investigation.

Crash Trucks Here

A crash wagon left Sioux City, Iowa USA Thursday morning with a crew to dismantle the ship. This was the second lime in a year that such a crewless plane flight occurred in this area. The first plane crashed near Ida Grove after crewmen bailed out near Sioux City.

The hill on the Vogt farm is one of the highest points in this area.

You can enjoy more blogs on flying at “FLY HIGH AND FAST”


Written by jjmeehan13

January 27, 2010 at 10:24 am

Posted in Flying

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