Nebraska WWII Fatal Crash Sites # 9, 10 & 11
August 28, 1943
Just before darkness, a formation of eight B-17's were coming into the Harvard Army Air Field to simulate a peel-off out of formation for landing. Instead of going downward and left out of formation, one of the lead B-17F's (42-30239) went upwards into the path of B-17F (42-3309). The wing of the higher plane cut the fuselage of the plane coming upward in half. A third B-17F (42-30774) flew into the wreckage. The first two B-17's that collided fell downward and exploded with no survivors. The third B-17 was able to crash-land in an open field. The pilot of the third plane had ordered his crew to bail out. One of those who bailed out either struck the plane on the way out or did not deploy his parachute and was killed.
The general locations of the crash sites were visited on November 10, 2006, and again on March 14, 2007. The site of one of the B-17's that collided in mid-air was identified by a local witness and confirmed by finding one piece of wreckage. Since the wreckage typically scatters in this type of crash, the exact impact site is still unknown. The area witness also identified the location where the third plane crash landed. The witness was very young (age 6) at the time of the crash. The exact site where the second plane that was also involved in the mid-air collision is still uncertain. No one has been found who is still alive in this area who can identify the exact site of the second B-17.
The impact site of one plane is somewhere out in this field. This witness was 6-years-old in 1943.
Crash Site Book