There are two Versions of this story:
Herbert Porter Hixson was killed in a B-24 D bomber accident that crashed into the Jamuna River, the main stream of the Brahmaputra River, near the city of Agra, in Utter Pradesh, India, during WW II. His body was never recovered. He was serving with the 375th Heavy bombardment Squadron of the 308th Bombardment Group in the China-Burma-India region. The unit was activated in the U.S. on April 15, 1942. The airfield used during this mission was located at Chabua, India.
The air base was said to have been across the river from the famed Taj Mahal, which is regarded as one of the eight wonders of the world.
Prior to the crash, during a lull in coperations, the pilot asked the ground crew if they wanted to take a non-mission flight with the aircrew members. The aircraft commander, for some unknown reason, was to have taken the bomber into a sttep dive, somewhat like a pursuit fighter, and was never able to fully pull the aircraft out of the dive. The aircraft hit the water and broke apart. The aircrew, in the forward section of the aircraft, survived. Four of the Ground Crew Members, in the aft section of the aircraft, all perished.
A subsequent military hearing cleared the pilot of wrong-doing. That pilot wrote to the wife of Herbert Porter Hixon (Dixie Hixon) and also to his mother (
Thelma Hixon) following the accident. The letters are maintained by James Hixon.
Personnel Lost: MSGT Ralph P. Opheim (body recovered), --Those never recovered: Cpl. Leros H. Nielsen, Cpl. Herbert P. Hixon and PFC Harry Glide
Official Statement of findings:
June 11, 1944, the aircraft was flown at too low an altitude over the Brahmaputra River. Suddenly, as the bottom of the fuselage touched the water, teareing loose the bottom of the fuselage bomb-bay tanks and doors (no mention of men falling out or being killed). When altitude was again resumed, the ship returned to the field, Normal landing was made, but no brake pressure was available. Finding it necessary to leave the runway to stop, the ship hit a pile of gravel and crossed two ditches across a taxiway. Nosewheel collapsed and fuselage broke in half upon stopping. The plane did not catch fire, nor was ther any further injury to personnel.
Recommentdations: good Common Sense will lessen, if not eliminate, accidents of this kind.
This information comes from Mr. James Hixon --brother of Herbert Porter Hixon as conveyed to Thomas W. HIckson
Discussion about wrecks and losses as well as historic sites in the Pacific.
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