B-25J crashes. Three on board injured
Officials are still evaluating the information coming in on a crash in the central part of California state, near Stockton, involving a WWII generation Mitchell Bomber that went down short of an airport and into an ‘open’ field, where an irrigation ditch, and other impediments apparently caused serious damage to the airframe around 7:30PM.
The aircraft involved is a 1944 B-25J (and most recently categorized as an ‘N’ Model after rebuild with registration no.N7946C), serial number 44-28938, registered to PROAIR HOLDING COMPANY LLC, LATHAM , NY, as N7946C. The aircraft had previously been damaged in a forced landing accident near Reno, NV, in September 1982. The aircraft later underwent an extensive 18000 hour restoration and flew again in September of 1995.
The initial report from the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office, stated that, “Plane crash in the area of Roberts Rd and Muller Rd in Stockton. Please stay out of the area. The aircraft involved in the crash was a World War II-era. The plane attempted a landing in an open field and appeared to have struck an irrigation ditch. The aircraft sustained significant damage. All injuries sustained during the incident appear to be non-life-threatening. We are in communication with NTSB and FAA as they will lead the investigation. Three people were on the aircraft. Two were transported to a local hospital, and one was able to walk away.”
Investigators have stated the cause of the crash was a mechanical failure.
Old Glory was one of the birds that was transported to Hawaii aboard the USS Essex. Hoisted aboard the ship in San Diego, the mighty Mitchell took part in The 75th Commemoration of the End of WWII event and then came back across the Pacific the same way. The accident reportedly occurred as the bird was making its way back from having been off-loaded in San Diego.
The bomber was built as a B-25J-15-NC with serial 44-28938 (construction number 108-33263) and delivered to the USAAF on 9 August 1944. She was originally assigned to the 12th Air Force in Italy and returned to the US in July 1945 after which the bomber was stored at South Plains (TX).
In 1946 she was modified by Hayes and re-designated as a TB-25N. After nearly 10 years of service at McClellan, the aircraft was retired from service in December 1957.
Two months later, the B-25 received the civilian registration NC7946C. Later that year, the plane was converted into a firebomber, flying as tanker #4. This utility role ended in 1975 when N7964C was sold and reconverted into a historic warbird.
Flying as "Dream Lover" she was damaged in a forced landing near Reno (NV) in September 1982. "Dream Lover" was repaired and changed ownership several times.
Sept 1982 crash of "Dream Lover" 44-28938
There are more than one hundred surviving North American B-25 Mitchells scattered over the world, mainly in the United States. Most of them are on static display in museums, but about 45 are still airworthy. — release courtesy www.aero-news.net
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