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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 193080
Last updated: 28 March 2020
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Date:25-JAN-1944
Time:04:06
Type:Silhouette image of generic CORS model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Vought F4U-1 Corsair
Owner/operator:VMF-216 USMC
Registration: 02283
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:into the ocean, about one-half mile east of Quoin Hill, Efate Island -   Vanuatu
Phase: Take off
Nature:Military
Departure airport:
Destination airport:
Narrative:
On 25 January 1944, 1st Lt Thomas H Fitzgibbons of VMF-216 took off at approxilately 0406 hrs from Fighter strip, Quoin Hill, Island of Efate, New Hebrides. His F4U-1 BuNo 02283 was the fourth plane to take off in a three division routine operational flight. He was killed when his Corsair crashed into the ocean on take off, about one-half mile east of Quoin Hill. His remains were not recovered.

2nd Lt C D Jones, fighter pilot with VMF-222, was the only known person to actually witness Lt Fitzgibbons plane both in flight and as it crashed. He reported:
"At approximately 0405 I was awakened by the sound of a plane flying low over my quarters. It later proved to be the first plane in the early morning flight taking off. My Quarters are located, so that planes taking off from West to East fly out over them. I stepped outside my hut to watch the other planes come over. I stood on the beach in front of my hut. The second plane had already passed over by the time I got outside. I saw the third plane come over, crossing the beach at about 250 ft. the fourth plane came over at about the same altitude. I watched this plane as it attempted to join up on the first three planes which by this time had come around in a 90 turn. This last plane after crossing over the beach went into a shallow turn of about 30 to the left, immediately going into a shallow turn of about 50-60 to the right, straightening out on a heading of approximately 110. After plane came out on a straight course it started down at a very slight angle, continuing at this angle until the plane struck the water. The only peculiar sounds I heard were those, that sounded just as if the prop was hitting the water, and then a louder "plop, plop", as if the belly of the plane might have hit the water, and skipped once. immediately after hearing these sounds the running lights disappeared from sight. The plane had plenty of speed, approximately 150 knots at the time it struck the water. From the time I first saw this plane until the time it crashed, its engine sounded as it if were functioning normally. At no time did I hear it sputter, cough, or cut out. It sounded as if it had plenty of power."

Sources:

VMF-216 War Diary, January 1944 (http://www.fold3.com/image/271022451/ and https://www.fold3.com/image/271022484/)
http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/src/USN/LLJan44.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quoin_Hill_Airfield
http://wikimapia.org/#lang=fr&lat=-17.540000&lon=168.442000&z=11


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
25-Jan-2017 23:00 Laurent Rizzotti Added

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