Lt John D. O'Reilly, his crew and one passenger while
enroute from Kwajalein to Depot Tower; ultimately destination
North Field, Guam was lost on 16 April 1945 at approximately
1400 Guam time.
was reported as Wind ESE, maximum of 8 mph; Sky coverage
was 3/10 - 6/10 visibility was 12 mi.
last radio contact with the crew was at 1356.
Robert H. Mitchell, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, from Marine
Transport Squadron 952 witnessed the accident and gave
the following statement:
"Just after taking off Agana on a routine instrument
flight, I observed a four-engine plane off the east coast
of Guam. This plane was about six hundred (600) feet,
paralleling the coastline, when first observed and was
in a gentle glide.
The plane was observed to continue its glide to the water.
Upon impact with the water, the plane skipped once, exploded
upon next impact and burning. We proceeded to the scene
of the accident immediately.
spotted what we believed to be one survivor. The fact
that there was one survivor was confirmed by an F6F pilot
dropped a raft upwind from the survivor. On the next time
around, the raft was still closed. We made another pass
and the raft was then open. I thought that I saw a man
holding to the side of the raft.
dropped two smoke bombs to mark survivor's position and
continued circling at one thousand (1000) feet. When Dumbo
arrived at 1430, we departed.
crash occurred approxiamtely one thousand (1000) yards
off shore. The wreckage drifted in toward shore. One open
life raft was observed about 200 hundred yards south of
the wreckage. The survivor was about fifty (50) feet south-east
of the aircraft. Time of accident was approximately 1355.
A. Kane, Gunner's Mate 1/C 49th Seabees, also witnessed
the accident, Approximately 13:56 16 April 1945 while
on a project on Triangle Point, I noticed a B-29 flying
low over the water headed directly into Pago Bay from
approximately due east. My first reaction was that it
was another plane just flying low - but wondered how a
ship of that size would clear the terrain of the island.
Aircraft contined to lose altitude and finally made contact
with water without attempting to change altitude. Aircraft
flight path was at 5 degree decent with top of water.
Aircraft burst info flames upon impact. All but one one
wing tip submerged within two or three minutes. It was
hard to determine whether or not anyone was able to escape,
from where I was viewing the accident.
here to view statements from witnesses