Investigator’s Note: I initially reached and identified this crash site on 09 Nov 2011. Family members of the personnel aboard this aircraft contacted me in early 2019 and asked me to lead a recovery mission to the crash site and try to recover remains and personal artifacts of the men. 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.
B-25D #41-30362 Recovery Photo Gallery
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