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  B-25 Mitchell Serial Number ?  
5th AF

Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
Michael Hughes 2001
Pilot  ?
Ditched  September 21, 1944
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by North American. Assigned to the 5th Air Force. Likely, assigned to the 38th Bombardment Group or another unit as a "fat cat" or hack.

Mission History
On September 21, 1944 took off from Hollandia Airfield on a flight bound for Cairns Airfield. During the flight, this aircraft experienced bad weather and became lost. At sunset, this B-25 ran out of fuel and ditched into the sea roughly one mile northwest of Rocky Point to the north of Port Douglas.

The crew were uninjured, aside from slight burns and were able to deploy their life raft. Signalling to shore with a light, they were spotted by members of the Volunteer Air Observer Corps on shore. A launch picked up the crew and returned them to shore by 1am on September 22nd.

This B-25 rests in seven meters. The visibility in this area is very poor about 2 to 3m most of the time.

The left engine and propeller was salvaged and is displayed at the Port Douglas Yacht Club.

Michael Hughes dove the wreck in 2001:
"The only reference to any of the crews names is to a Captain Miller. The nose cockpit main part of the fuselage & both wings are still intact. The right engine lays about 2m in front of it's mount. The tail section has been ripped off at some stage & is missing I do not know if it came off in the impact of has been ripped off sometime later maybe by a trawler. A few pieces of the rudder can be found behind the wreck but the bulk of the tail is gone. I may well be in the area somewhere but due to the visibility and small size of what would be left it would be near impossible to find. Unfortunately the wreck has been souvineered a few times & as a result there are no guns & a lot of the cockpit fittings have been removed never the less it is a very interesting wreck to visit."

The West Australian "Airmen Rescued - Crash-Landing In Sea" September 22, 1944
"Lights Seen by V.A.O.C. MELBOURNE, Sept 21.-Two US airmen whose Mitchell bomber had
crash-landed in the sea off Rocky Point Beach, North Queensland, were rescued because faint lights signalled from their dinghy while drifting out to sea were seen by members of the Volunteer Air Observer Corps.
The plane, owing to bad visibility and squally conditions, had become lost about nightfall. Attempts were being made from Cairns to guide the plane into a safe landing when radio
contact was lost. Twenty minutes later observers at Port Douglas and Mossman reported that the aircraft appeared to have tried to land on the beach. A rescue party found that the machine had come down on the sea.
Port Douglas observation post reported that the faint signals were gradually becoming less distinct. The RAAF on receipt of this advice had a fast navy rescue launch fitted with searchlights sent to the scene, and at 1am the Mossman post was able to report that the launch had returned, having picked up the plane's crew uninjured except for slight burns"
Thanks to Edward Rogers for research and analysis

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Last Updated
February 14, 2020


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