Nebraska WWII Fatal Crash Sites # 24 & 25

Wood Lake
February 5, 1944

Two P-47's from the Ainsworth Army Air Field were conducting a training mission over the Sandhills near Wood Lake. One pilot covered his canopy of his P-47 (42-8175) in order to fly by instruments so that he would not be able to see the ground. The other P-47 (42-22559) was acting as the observer, but was too close to the plane flying by instruments which made an unanticipated turn and flew into the observer plane. Both planes spiraled out of control and crashed about one half mile apart. Both pilots were killed during either the mid-air collision or upon striking the ground.

Crew Members

This sites were visited on April 13, 2007. The assistance of a local rancher, whose father was an eyewitness to the crash, aided in finding evidence of both exact locations in the Sandhills. Pieces of the crash were found by using a metal detector.

This crash site of Lt. Fanslau's plane in the small depression in the forground.

The north crash site of Lt. Beatty's plane was on the side of this hill below the pickup.

P-47 Aircraft

Crash Site Book