Historical Note: The text within this post is an excerpt from the original Army Air Corps or USAAF accident report that was filed shortly after the aircraft disappeared.  These archival reports were typically the Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) or Report of Major Accident.  The reports frequently stated the crash site was believed to be “unrecoverable” or “all but impossible to recover”, due to the very remote and rugged terrain where the aircraft crashed.  Employing the services of local tribal guides, I was able to reach and document this crash site.  Without exception, all the sites were very difficult to reach, often involving many days of trekking from the nearest road and multiple river crossings.

B-25D #41-30362
Recovered Nov-Dec 2019

by

B-25D #41-30362

Investigator’s Note:  I initially located this crash site on 09 Nov 2011.  Family members of the personnel aboard this aircraft contacted me during Summer 2019 and asked me to lead a recovery mission to the crash site and try to recover human remains and personnel artifacts from the site.  This would mean recruiting a much larger team and remaining on site long enough to do a methodical, 100% excavation of the crash site.  The family members had already asked the US Dept of Defense, the US Embassy in New Delhi, India and Ohio State University to do the recovery mission, but all of them declined to accept the mission for various reasons.  Most often cited by them was the “political instability” present in the area.  Armed insurgent organizations from Burma and India often harbor in the jungles on the India side of the India-Burma border, throughout the Dihing River Valley.  The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has been waging an armed insurrection in northern Burma since the 1940’s, and they use these border jungles as a safe haven when being pursued by the Burmese Army.  A budget for the recovery mission was funded and the mission was launched on 04 Nov 2019.

On 10 Dec 1943, this aircraft was on a rescue mission over Burma when it was attacked by Japanese Zero fighter aircraft.  The B-25 tried to escape by flying westerly into India, but was pursued by the enemy aircraft.  The right engine caught fire after the main attack.  The crew feathered the propeller, but as they did that, a Zero that had been pursuing them shot out their left engine, setting the aircraft afire.  The pilot, Capt. John Porter, gave the order to bailout.  Only the co-pilot, 2nd Lt. James Spain, had his parachute on when the bailout order was given.  Lt. Spain’s clothes or parachute got caught while he was trying to exit the overhead hatch in the cockpit, and he was freed at the last moment by Capt. Porter pushing him out.  Lt. Spain reported the aircraft was entirely in flames by the time he exited, and it crashed and exploded about the time he deployed his parachute moments later.  No other crewmembers survived.  Dead: 5.

  • Pilot: Capt. John L. Porter
  • Co-Pilot: 2nd Lt. James F. Spain
  • Radio Operator: SSgt. Walter R. Oswalt
  • Flight Engineer: Sgt. Harold W. Neibler
  • Gunner: SSgt. Harry D. Tucker
  • Passenger: Maj. Ralph L. Dewsnup

Note: Bolded name is that of sole survivor of this crash.

View the Crashed Aircraft Recovery Report for B-25D #41-30362

View the Crashed Aircraft Site Report for B-25D #41-30362


B-25D #41-30362 Expedition Photo Gallery

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Important Notice: If you believe this is a worthwhile humanitarian project that needs to be pursued, then please visit the Funding page on this website to see how easy it is to support this project in a meaningful manner.  MIA Recoveries, Inc is a tax-exempt public charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Click here to donate.

Important Notice:​ These MIA expeditions are mostly self-funded by Clayton Kuhles.  No funding assistance is received from the US government.  If you believe this is a worthwhile humanitarian project that needs to be pursued, then please visit the Funding page on this website to see how easy it is to support this project in a meaningful manner.  MIA Recoveries, Inc is a tax-exempt public charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  EIN: 45-3174718.  Funding donations to MIA Recoveries, Inc are deductible under section 170 of the Code.