Nebraska WWII Fatal Crash Site # 23
February 2, 1944
The third and last fatal crash involving a B-17 near the Kearney Army Air Field occurred when a crew of ten, who were part of a large formation were leaving the field in preparation for overseas duty, crashed during take-off. Shortly after becoming airborne, the pilots of B-17G (42-38119) should have switched to instruments, but they continued to fly by contact and misjudged their altitude in the early morning darkness. They flew the plane into the ground which skidded along and then started on fire. Six of the crew who could not escape the burning wreckage of the plane died. The other four airmen (including the two pilots) managed to escape the plane and survived.
The site was visited on May 3, 2007, along with an older Kearney resident who used to farm the nearby area. The exact site was verified with the discovery of wreckage in a cultivated field by using a metal detector.
The crash site is in the foreground and the former Kearney Army Air Field is in the background.
Crash Site Book