Nebraska WWII Fatal Crash Sites # 48 & 49
Bruning Army Air Field
September 8, 1944
A B-17G (42-107159) from the Sioux City Army Air Field, and a P-47D (42-74782) from the Bruning Army Air Field collided in mid-air approximately 3 miles northeast of the Bruning Army Air Field. The pilot of the P-47 misjudged the distance to the B-17 as he was simulating an attack upon the formation. After impact, the P-47 spiraled out of control and struck the ground killing the pilot. The B-17 broke apart scattering wreckage over an area of several square miles. The forward part of the fuselage of the B-17 and the impact site of the P-47 are one mile apart in an east-west direction. Four of the airmen in the B-17 were able to bail out and survive. The crash took the lives of six other airmen in the B-17. This accident is very similar to the mid-air collision of the Bruning AAF P-47 with the Sioux City B-17 that occurred near Daykin on July 12, 1944.
The crash sites were investigated on May 3, 2008, with the assistance of two area farmers. Since the B-17 wreckage was scattered over several miles and into larger pieces, nothing was found at the site where the forward part of the fuselage landed. One farmer did bring several pieces of the B-17 wreckage that he had found over the years in his fields about a mile to the northeast.
The P-47 site was found on the side of a hill in a cornfield one mile west of the B-17 site. Small pieces of wreckage was scattered to the extent that it was easily found lying right on top of the surface once the impact site was located and further use of the metal detector was not needed.
The farmer on the left was born four years after WWII had ended, but his father told him many stories about the mid-air collision. His family has found several pieces of the B-17 including this piece. The farmer on the right was a junior in high school and saw the crash occur. His family's former farm site is in the background.
Once the P-47 site was located there was many pieces of wreckage still laying on the surface even after 64 years of continuous farming.
February 8, 2009
** NEW! **
May 6, 2009
More photos here:
Crash Site Book