Total aircraft crash sites reached: 27
MIA personnel accounted for: 279
Note: The text below are excerpts from the original Army Air Corps or USAAF accident reports that were 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 these crash sites. Without exception, all the sites were very difficult to reach, often involving many days of trekking from the nearest road and multiple river crossings.
Found 07 Dec 2010
On 25 May 1944, this B-24 aircraft of the 14th Air Force, 308th Bombardment Group, 373rd Bomb Squadron, departed Yangkai, China for Chabua, India. It was a routine ferrying mission.
The aircraft reported being 30 min. E of Chabua. This was the last radio contact received from the aircraft. Due to the mountainous terrain where the aircraft was probably lost, it’s believed that even if the aircraft were located, it would be all but impossible to recover the remains of the crew and passengers. The crew were declared dead as of 26 May 1945. Dead: 10.
- Pilot: 1st Lt. Robert M. King
- Co-Pilot: 2nd Lt. John B. Byron
- Navigator: 1st Lt. Eugene L. Bernstein
- Radio Operator: TSgt. John J. Regan
- Flight Engineer: TSgt. Robert R. Riley
- Gunner: SSgt. Garland J. Reed
- Gunner: SSgt. Earl L. Smith
- Passenger: Capt. Thomas H. Clare
- Passenger: SSgt. Raymond J. Bridge
- Passenger: Cpl. Merle L. Pickup
Found 24 Nov 2010
On 05 June 1945, this aircraft departed Dum Dum, India at 1243 Z on a shuttle flight to Jorhat, India.
The only radio contact from the aircraft was a position report transmitted at 1415 Z. The crew reported its position at that time as S of Lalmanirhat and at 5,000 ft. altitude.
The aircraft never arrived in Jorhat. Dead: 7.
- Pilot: Capt. Earl E. Cunningham
- Co-Pilot: 1st Lt. John J. Besone
- Radio Operator: Cpl. Morris Adoff
- Flight Engineer: SSgt. Murdoch M. McLaughlin
- Asst. Flight Engineer: Pfc. Charles Perkel
- Passenger: Capt. Lloyd F. Melichar
- Passenger: Pfc. John Barto
Found 23 Nov 2010
This aircraft departed Lalmanirhat, India on 25 May 1944 for Chabua, India on a routine cargo run. This was an Air Transport Command aircraft assigned to Karachi and with an ATC crew aboard.
The aircraft did not arrive in Chabua, and no distress calls were received from the crew. The weather was very poor that day along its route, with scattered thunderstorms, low clouds and occasional zero visibility being reported. The last report on this aircraft states it is still missing in flight and the crew is presumed dead. Dead: 3.
- Pilot: 1st Lt. John S. Gordon
- Co-Pilot: F/O Russell A. Brown
- Radio Operator: Pfc. James C. Mohn
Found 10 Nov 2009
This aircraft of the 10th Air Force was assigned to the post-war American Graves Registration Service (AGRS). It departed Mingaladon airport in Rangoon, Burma early in the morning on 17 May 1946 for Barrackpore, India. The aircraft had a crew of 3 from the 1304th Air Force Base Unit and 8 passengers, including a 6-man AGRS team. The aircraft was transporting as many as 43 sets of US POW remains recently recovered by the AGRS team from POW cemeteries in southern Burma.
A heavy storm was developing over the Bay of Bengal that day and moving NNE. The aircraft would unavoidably encounter the storm along its route to Barrackpore. The standard flight route from Mingaladon to Barrackpore required flying over the NE corner of the Bay of Bengal, starting over water at Akyab, Burma. The pilot, 1st Lt. Horace Gabbart, failed to get a weather and route briefing prior to departing Mingaladon and he also failed to file a proper flight clearance.
Pilot radioed Barrackpore at 0610 Z to report he had passed over Akyab at 0530 Z, was flying on instruments (indicating poor visibility) and he expected to arrive at Barrackpore at 0800 Z. He radioed Barrackpore again at 0615 Z to request a weather update, and Barrackpore had to respond to him twice because of heavy atmospheric interference (lightening). Pilot mistakenly responded to Barrackpore’s call to another aircraft at 0705 Z and reported QRU (nothing for you) to Barrackpore. This was the last radio contact with the aircraft. It was never heard from again and its location is unknown.
After-accident interview statements from Mingaladon personnel revealed it was well known that Lt. Gabbart disliked flying over water. Furthermore, Lt. Gabbart reportedly stated he could not fly over water on this flight because there were not enough life jackets aboard his aircraft for all passengers, and he instead planned to follow the coastline to Calcutta. Lt. Gabbart expected this longer route to require 5.5 hrs. of flying time and more fuel, so the fuel tanks were fully filled before departure from Mingaladon. The pilot also reportedly told Mingaladon personnel that if he encountered a storm over Akyab, he would change course to N or NE and attempt to bypass the storm. Pilot’s call to Barrackpore at 0615 Z for a weather update would indicate he was concerned about deteriorating weather conditions. There is no known record of Lt. Gabbart’s actual flight bearing after passing Akyab.
AGRS searched extensively for this aircraft in the northern Chittagong Hill Tracts from 16 Dec 1946 to 08 Jan 1947. This would indicate AGRS believed the pilot had followed the coastline instead of overflying the Bay of Bengal, and pilot probably changed course to N or NE at Akyab to bypass the storm or was blown further inland by the storm. Dead: 11 plus as many as 43 sets of US POW remains.
- Pilot: 1st Lt. Horace J. Gabbart
- Check Pilot: 1st Lt. Melvin L. Power
- Radio Operator: Pfc. Eugene F. Ryan
- Passenger: Lt. Cmdr. James T. Campbell
- Passenger: Capt. Roy W. Corley
- Passenger: 1st Lt. Harry Chan
- Passenger: 1st Lt. Henry B. Derbyshire
- Passenger: 1st Lt. Donald S. Dutton
- Passenger: SSgt. Glenn S. Cox, Jr.
- Passenger: Sgt. Warren R. Haines
- Passenger: Cpl. Wallace J. Davis
- POW Remans: Lt. Col. Everett C. Plummer
- POW Remains: Capt. William R. Gilhousen
- POW Remains: Capt. Armin J. Ortmeyer, Jr.
- POW Remains: Capt. Wayne E. Westberg
- POW Remains: Capt. Bill Wright
- POW Remains: 1st Lt. Paul E. Almand
- POW Remains: 1st Lt. Robert F. Angell
- POW Remains: 1st Lt. Amel Boldman, Jr.
- POW Remains: 1st Lt. Robert D. Drummey
- POW Remains: 1st Lt. Burdett C. Goodrich
- POW Remains: 1st Lt. James M. Grey
- POW Remains: 1st Lt. Robert L. Kavanaugh
- POW Remains: 1st Lt. John C. Kelley
- POW Remains: 1st Lt. Charles B. Liston
- POW Remains: 1st Lt. Joseph F. Zialavsky
- POW Remains: 2nd Lt. Burdett H. Baker
- POW Remains: 2nd Lt. Everett E. Briggs, Jr.
- POW Remains: 2nd Lt. Carl F. Carpenter
- POW Remains: 2nd Lt. Clarence A. Clyborne, Jr.
- POW Remains: 2nd Lt. Thomas P. Hogan, Jr.
- POW Remains: 2nd Lt. William R. McCandless
- POW Remains: 2nd Lt. Joseph C. Rich
- POW Remains: F/O Gene Gambale
- POW Remains: G.R. Murphy (AVG)
- POW Remains: TSgt. Urvan A. Aubuchon
- POW Remains: TSgt. Edward R. Bodell
- POW Remains: TSgt. Charles A. Pittard
- POW Remains: SSgt. William C. Fetterman
- POW Remains: SSgt. Thomas S. Hopes
- POW Remains: SSgt. Francis B. Jordan
- POW Remains: SSgt. Albert L. Malok
- POW Remains: SSgt. Robert McCarty
- POW Remains: SSgt. Frank Rodriquez
- POW Remains: SSgt. Jack R. Sheets
- POW Remains: Sgt. Norman E. Albinson
- POW Remains: Sgt. J. Brown
- POW Remains: Sgt. Alfred L. Busby
- POW Remains: Sgt. Malcolm W. Carter
- POW Remains: Sgt. Harold B. Cummings
- POW Remains: Sgt. Paul L. Elyea
- POW Remains: Sgt. Elias E. Gonsalves
- POW Remains: Sgt. Eugene L. Moyers
- POW Remains: Cpl. Julius F. Yackie
Note: Bolded names were crewmembers from B-24J #42-73222 a.k.a. Bugs Bunny. This B-24 aircraft with 10 crewmembers aboard was shot down over southern Burma on 01 Dec 1943. All but 1 of the crewmembers died in the crash or later from their injuries, illnesses, malnutrition or mistreatment by their Japanese captors while being held as POW’s in Burma. It is believed the remains of these 9 deceased crewmembers were recovered by the AGRS after the war and were being transported to Barrackpore aboard C-47B #43-48308 when this aircraft disappeared on 17 May 1946. The loss of the reports and field notes of the AGRS team in the crash of their aircraft may forever prevent this question from being resolved. Barring evidence that some of the deceased Bugs Bunny crewmembers are still unrecovered in Burma, then all 9 will remain listed here as a memorial to their incredible heroism in the face of a brutal enemy.
Found 16 Oct 2008
This aircraft departed its home station at Chabua, India on 09 Apr 1943 on a routine ferrying flight to China. It was assigned to the Air Transport Command of the 10th Air Force, 1st Ferrying Group, 3rd Ferrying Squadron.
This aircraft simply disappeared while over the Hump. Numerous attempts were made to contact it, but no replies were received to any of the radio calls. The aircraft and its crew were never located. The nature of the loss is undetermined. Dead: 6.
- Pilot: Capt. Bobby A. Cook
- Co-Pilot: 2nd Lt. Marvin Siegal
- Navigator: 2nd Lt. John P. Falvo
- Radio Operator: Pvt. Robert L. Looney
- Flight Engineer: TSgt. Henry C. Jones
- Passenger: MSgt. Thomas L. Macintosh
Found 10 Oct 2008
This aircraft departed Chanyi, China at 0940 Z on 29 Jan 1944 for Misamari, India.
Winds were reported out of the SW at 80-100 mph at altitudes greater than 18,000 ft. and severe icing below 21,000 ft. No radio contact was received from aircraft after it departed Chanyi. Aircraft not located and reported missing on 03 Feb 1944. Crew declared administratively dead. Dead: 4.
- Pilot: 2nd Lt. Huland K. Hunt
- Co-Pilot: 2nd Lt. Lawrence H. Fox
- Radio Operator: Cpl. Alphonse B. Kupchun
- Flight Engineer: Pfc. Kenneth L. Seidel
Found 03 Oct 2008
This aircraft departed Yangkai, China on 09 Aug 1943 enroute to Jorhat, India. It was reported missing in flight. There was still no news on the fate of this aircraft or its crew as of Dec 1943. Dead: 5.
- Pilot: Capt. Tom Perry
- Co-Pilot: 1st Lt. John T. Tennison
- Navigator: 2nd Lt. John W. Funk
- Radio Operator: SSgt. Alvin J. Lenox
- Crew Chief: Pfc. Donald A. Johnson
Found 28 Sept 2008
On 13 Jul 1943, this aircraft departed Mohanbari, India for Kunming, China. It was on a routine mission over the Hump. The aircraft radioed from the vicinity of Sookerating, India for a weather report at Yunnanyi, China. This radio call was received at 1418 IST.
The aircraft did not arrive in Kunming. It has not been located and no further information has become available. Crew and passenger declared dead. Dead: 4.
- Pilot: 2nd Lt. Robert D. Coker
- Co-Pilot: 2nd Lt. Howard G. Bushey
- Radio Operator: Cpl. Walter A. Hynes
- Passenger: Capt. Alexander A. St. Clair
Found 23 Sept 2008
On 04 Feb 1945, this aircraft departed Chabua, India for Karachi, India. The aircraft was transporting 33 passengers who were homeward bound to the US.
The aircraft developed mechanical problems and caught fire over a remote jungle area approx. 55 mi. NW of Jorhat. It crashed near the summit of a jungle-covered hill and burned. All crewmembers and passengers were killed with the sole exception of TSgt. Marvin H. Jacobs, who survived the crash with minor injuries and was rescued and cared for by local villagers. Dead: 34.
- Pilot: F/O Cecil A. Weaver
- Co-Pilot: 2nd Lt. Robert H. Maddox
- Passenger: Capt. Lawrence C. Archer
- Passenger: Capt. Kenneth R. Arnette
- Passenger: Capt. Thomas H. Harper
- Passenger: 1st Lt. James W. Brokaw
- Passenger: 1st Lt. Myron L. Cook
- Passenger: 1st Lt. John A. Flach
- Passenger: 1st Lt. John F. McDonough, Jr.
- Passenger: 1st Lt. Charles B. Moore
- Passenger: 1st Lt. Harold B. Morse
- Passenger: 1st Lt. Howard S. Pierson
- Passenger: 1st Lt. William E. Price
- Passenger: 1st Lt. Frederick J. Raubinger
- Passenger: 1st Lt. Louis P. Worland
- Passenger: 1st Lt. Marshall Young
- Passenger: TSgt. Allan H. Cousins
- Passenger: TSgt. Phillip Feld
- Passenger: TSgt. Robert E. Finks
- Passenger: TSgt. Lawrence G. Jacobs
- Passenger: TSgt. Marvin H. Jacobs
- Passenger: TSgt. Scott F. Mitchell
- Passenger: SSgt. Harlan G. Casper
- Passenger: SSgt. Alva H. Floyd
- Passenger: SSgt. Joseph B. Hewitt, Jr.
- Passenger: SSgt. Merrill R. Hyde
- Passenger: SSgt. David McKissock, Jr.
- Passenger: SSgt. Ernest B. Schenck
- Passenger: SSgt. Forman S. Smith
- Passenger: Sgt. Joseph F. Kehrer
- Passenger: Cpl. Buster Beck
- Passenger: Cpl. L.F. Sellers
- Passenger: Pfc. J.G. Goodman
- Passenger: Pfc. Norman C. Maxfelt
- Passenger: Pvt. Harold B. Erwin
Note: Bolded name is that of sole survivor of this crash. TSgt. Marvin H. Jacobs was thrown clear of the wreckage and ensuing fire, and sustained only minor injuries. He was soon found by a hunter from a local tribal village who witnessed the crash while camped on a nearby hill. The hunter built a bamboo lean-to shelter for Jacobs and cared for him before carrying him down to the village. A runner from the village was sent to notify the US Army. The villagers then built a rough airstrip so the Americans could recover Jacobs with a small aircraft.
Found 20 Sept 2008
This aircraft was lost on the Hump on 20 Mar 1943 while enroute from Pandaveswar, India to Kunming, China. It was assigned to the 14th Air Force, 308th Bombardment Group, 425th Squadron and was on its original flight to Kunming to begin work in China.
It had been cleared for flight from Chabua, India to Kunming, but its location at the time it encountered problems is not known. The aircraft did not send a position report or mayday call. The nature of the loss is unknown. The aircraft has never been found. Dead: 10.
- Acting Pilot: Maj. Robert W. Fensler
- Pilot: 2nd Lt. Phillips G. Huffman
- Co-Pilot: 2nd Lt. Gerald (Jerrold) E. Owens
- Navigator: 2nd Lt. Frederick W. Ossenfort
- Bombardier: 2nd Lt. Harvey M. Nix
- Radio Operator: TSgt. Norman H. Price
- Asst. Radio Operator: SSgt. Louis F. Verhaegen
- Flight Engineer: TSgt. Erle H. Thayer
- Asst. Flight Engineer: SSgt. Aubrey E. Stevenson
- Gunner: SSgt. Sandav E. Rivardo
Found 27 Oct 2007
On 24 Mar 1944, this aircraft was on a cargo mission from Chabua, India to Ondal, India via Tezpur. The pilot was given night instrument clearance from Chabua to Ondal. There was light to moderate thunderstorm activity with ground fog and intermittent hail along the entire route, with heaviest storm activity in the Tezpur and Misamari area.
The aircraft crashed enroute, killing all the crew. Cause of crash is undetermined. Dead: 4.
- Pilot: 1st Lt. Richard S. Austin
- Co-Pilot: 2nd Lt. Joe O. Hudgins
- Radio Operator: Cpl. Giles Q. Stevens
- Flight Engineer: Cpl. Arnold B. Stavinoha
Found 22 Oct 2007
This aircraft departed Jorhat, India enroute to Chengtu, China on 17 Jul 1945 at approx. 0230 IST. They had instrument clearance on Able route. It was a routine Hump cargo flight hauling 100 octane aviation gasoline to the Chengtu area.
A received position report put the aircraft over Pathalipam at 8,000 ft. There were no further radio contacts with this aircraft. No replies were received in response to all queries sent. The aircraft disappeared somewhere on the Hump and was declared missing as of 17 Jul 1945. A concentrated search was conducted to no avail, and the search was abandoned on 17 Aug 1945. In view of the complete absence of information, the cause of the accident remains undetermined. Crew declared dead. Dead: 4.
- Pilot: 1st Lt. Allen R. Turner
- Co-Pilot: 2nd Lt. Frederick W. Langhorst
- Radio Operator: Cpl. Robert L. McAdoo
- Flight Engineer: Pvt. Joseph I. Natvik
Found 01 Oct 2007
This aircraft was enroute from Kunming, China to Misamari, India on 20 Feb 1944.
The weather was extremely bad and radio contact was very poor. The pilot was evidently lost and the aircraft was running low on fuel. Pilot called Chabua for a bearing, and Chabua shot bearings on the aircraft and instructed pilot to let down. Pilot wanted to bailout, but Chabua assured him it was OK to let down from 12,500 ft. to 8,000 ft. Pilot was also receiving bearings and instructions from Jorhat, and this might have caused even more confusion for the pilot. The last radio transmission from aircraft ended with a loud crashing sound. It is presumed the aircraft crashed into a mountain. Aircraft not located and crew declared dead. Dead: 4.
- Pilot: 2nd Lt. Jack Hunter
- Co-Pilot: 2nd Lt. Alfred S. Hemmer
- Radio Operator: Sgt. Inman A. Watson
- Flight Engineer: SSgt. John L. Weinberg
Found 07 Dec 2006
On 25 Jan 1944, this aircraft departed Kunming, China at 0740 CST for Chabua, India on a routine ferrying mission. The aircraft was assigned to the 14th Air Force, 308th Bombardment Group, 425th Squadron.
The aircraft experienced extreme instrument weather conditions upon entering India at 1045 IST and left the formation it was flying in. Cloud ceiling was at treetop level and visibility was less than 1 mi. Last communication from aircraft stated it was on a NW course at 15,000 ft. It did not reach Chabua. It was listed as missing in routine flight. No further information was available as of 20 Nov 1944. Crew declared dead. Dead: 8.
- Pilot: 1st Lt. William A. Swanson
- Co-Pilot: F/O Sheldon L. Chambers
- Navigator: 1st Lt. Irwin Zaetz
- Bombardier: 1st Lt. Robert E. Oxford
- Radio Operator: SSgt. Harry B. Queen
- Flight Engineer: SSgt. Charles D. Ginn
- Gunner: Sgt. Alfred H. Gerrans, Jr.
- Gunner: Sgt. James A. Hinson
C-53DO #42-15890 a.k.a. CNAC #58
Found 14 Dec 2005
This CNAC aircraft departed Dinjan, India on 07 Apr 1943 for Kunming, China. It was a routine cargo flight over the Hump on Able route. Its cargo was graphite electrodes destined for an electric smelting furnace somewhere in China.
As the aircraft climbed high to cross the mountains on the India-Burma border, it started accumulating a heavy load of ice on all forward-facing surfaces and was steadily losing airspeed and altitude. Pilot, Joe Rosbert, radioed Dinjan and reported he couldn’t clear the border mountains and he needed to return to Dinjan. He proceeded to turn the aircraft 180 deg. and set a return course to Dinjan. The aircraft windscreen had completely iced-over as the deicing equipment was inadequate for the severe weather conditions. Joe pressed the palm of his hand against the windscreen glass in an attempt to melt a vision hole in the ice on the outside and peered through looking for nearby mountains. He had no sooner completed the turn, when he saw a mountain looming up directly in front of him. With no time or engine power to gain altitude, the aircraft suddenly skimmed across the snow-covered shoulder of the mountain and skidded to a stop at almost 15,000 ft. altitude. The impact tore off both engines and both landing gear, but there was no fire or explosion.
A propeller blade had broken and came through the fuselage, striking and killing the radio operator. Pilot and co-pilot survived the crash with injuries to their ankles. After weeks of agonizing travel down the mountain and through rugged wilderness, they eventually reached a tiny Mishmi village in a high mountain valley E of the Lohit River. The Mishmi villagers cared for the injured airmen until a runner could find a British survey team working along the Lohit River and bring them back to their village. The Mishmi tribesmen then carried the airmen while accompanying the British team down to the US radio beacon station at Sadiya, India. Dead: 1.
- Pilot: C. Joseph Rosbert
- Co-Pilot: Charles R. Hammell
- Radio Operator: Y.T. Wong
Note: Bolded names are those of survivors of this crash.
C.J. Rosbert survived the war and died in Texas in 2007.
Charles R. Hammell died in the crash of CNAC #94 near Dinjan, India on 09 May 1945 and was buried at Panitola Cemetery on 10 May 1945.
Found 11 Nov 2003
This aircraft departed Yunnanyi, China at 0840 CST for Misamari, India on 02 Nov 1943. The aircraft was assigned to the Air Transport Command.
No radio contacts were received from the aircraft after its departure from Yunnanyi. It did not arrive in Misamari and was listed as missing. The cause of the loss is unknown, as the weather was reportedly good and the aircraft was new. It’s possible it was brought down by Japanese fighter aircraft operating over the Ft. Hertz Valley in northern Burma. Japanese fighter aircraft based in Sumprabum, Burma were active in the area.
The ATC search and rescue team at Ft. Hertz, Burma received a report on 09 Oct 1944 about a US aircraft wreck found high in the mountains in northeastern India, just across the border from Burma. They went to the crash site and identified it as being this aircraft. All 3 crewmembers were found and identified and their remains were buried at the site. Dead: 3.
- Pilot: 1st Lt. John A. Deaux
- Co-Pilot: 2nd Lt. Edgar L. Corbiere
- Radio Operator: Cpl. Paul E. Pakari
C-47A #42-23734 a.k.a. CNAC #77
Found 20 Oct 2003
This CNAC aircraft departed Kunming, China at 0709 GMT on 06 Jan 1945 for Tengchung, China.
The aircraft was over Tengchung, but was unable to land because of bad weather. Pilot decided to return to his homebase in Dinjan, India. Pilot radioed Kunming at 0822 GMT, but received no reply from Kunming. No further radio contact was made with this aircraft. Dead: 4.
- Pilot: Russell W. Coldren
- Co-Pilot: K.W. Chen
- Radio Operator: V.N. Chow
- Radio Operator Trainee: G. Tai
Found 19 Oct 2003
On 24 Apr 1943, this aircraft departed Yangkai, China at approx. 1400 CST for its homebase in Chabua, India. It was assigned to the 1333rd AAF Base Unit, 22nd Ferrying Group, 3rd Ferrying Squadron.
There was no radio contact with this aircraft after take-off in Yangkai. It did not arrive in Chabua and was listed as missing. Aerial searches commenced immediately and lasted until 26 May 1943. The aircraft was not located. The nature of its loss is unknown. No further information has become available. Crew was declared dead. Dead: 5.
- Pilot: Capt. Jennings H. Mease, Sr.
- Co-Pilot: 2nd Lt. Samuel E. Lunday, Jr.
- Navigator: 2nd Lt. James M. Jeffrey
- Radio Operator: SSgt. Elwood E. Stevens
- Flight Engineer: Pvt. Mervyn E. Sims