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|Pilot Captain Thomas Classen (survived)
Crew Lt. Balfour Gibson (survived)
Crew Lt. Robert Dorwart (survived)
Crew Lt. Ernest Ruiz (survived)
Crew Sgt Jim Hunt (survived)
Crew Sgt. Don Martin (survived)
Crew Cpl Ted Edwards (survived)
Crew Cpl William Nichols (survived)
Crew Sgt Bob Turnbull (survived)
Ditched February 9, 1943
The B-17 had its no. 1 engine frozen from damage. Then, a second engine went out. Then a third, causing it to ditch over 450 miles from the nearest island. The B-17 hit a wave, nosed into another and sank within sixty seconds. The crew found themselves in the water, clinging to an inflated life boat and pumping another and managed to tie the two boats together and drifted away from the oil slick from the sunken bomber.
In an attempt to move closer to the Allied lines, the group attempted to buy a canoe from locals, but it failed to be seaworthy with only four aboard. Later, they hired another native and his canoe to sailed down the coast for four days and met another group of natives, who had been sent by a pair of coastwatchers to find them. Escorted over a jungle trail to the coastwatchers mountain observation post, they met the coastwatchers and arranged their rescue by radio.
More than fifty days after their ditching, a U. S. Navy PBY Catalina piloted by Robert B. Hays from VP-44, escorted by two PB4Y-1 Liberators from VB-101. The group in an outrigger was spotted by Hays, and he landed to rescue them, and then planned the rescue of the remaining men.
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