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Bob Dempster

Seattle World Cruiser

300 Airport Way Ste 203

Renton, WA 98057

 

9401-9947 Airport Way S
Seattle, WA, 98108
United States

August 4th

August 4th

Daily Flight Information:

The World Flight will remain in Hornafjordur, Iceland for at least one day because of the forced landing of "Boston"

The Boston being towed. (San Diego Air & Space Museum)



"Boston" Lost at Sea, Crew Safe

Daily Report

by Lt. L. P. Arnold, "Chicago", Mechanic

This day has been one of unusual anxiety -- first we would hear that Wade's plane was battered & damaged beyond repair, then would come a message it could be repaired, then it couldn't, etc. Finally in the afternoon we heard that it sank while being towed to the Faroes & that of course settled it. We were all torn between two emotions -- one of relief that Wade & Ogden were safe, and the other of sorrow that after coming 20,000 miles they should so suddenly lose their plane through absolutely no fault of theirs.

We spent the day checking over the planes & getting ready to leave in the a.m. In the evening we went to Mr. Danielson's for dinner -- he has six daughters that play & sing very well & we enjoyed listening to the Icelandic songs & music.

A shore party of sailors from the Raleigh made things very pleasant for us -- preparing meals, radio, cleaning up, and handling supplies.

It is queer to us that there is no darkness -- between 11 & 1 at night it is a sort of twilight but not dark at all.


Daily Report

by Lt. L. H. Smith, Commanding

Today the following radiogram was received from Lieut. Wade:

"For Lieut. Smith - USS Raleigh

Everything loosened and badly strained STOP All wings damaged STOP Propeller broken STOP New pontoons necessary STOP Center sections slightly damaged COMMA repairs possible STOP New engine necessary STOP Upon arrival Faroes this morning will make further reports STOP Thanks for early message.

Wade"

From the above radiogram and the fact that all supplies necessary to repair the plane were available, it was felt that the "Boston" would again join the flight. However, a few hours later, the same day, the following message was received:

"From A9W - Richmond
To Raleigh - GR 18 - 0004
For Lt Smith - Hornafjord

Plane three total loss Richmond sailing Reykjavik to arrive early afternoon Tuesday 0530.

Wade"

After this radio message was received, all hopes were given up and plans made for the "Chicago" and "New Orleans" to continue immediately.


Forced Landing of the "Boston"

by Lt. L. H. Smith, Commanding

The incidents in connection with the landing of the "Boston" and its abandonment were later found to be as follows: The pilot noticed the oil pressure suddenly fall to zero after which the engine began showing signs of the lack of oil to bearings. Realizing the motor would soon "freeze", the pilot landed at 10:56 a.m., at Long. 3° 28' W, Lat. 60° 40' N. As the sea was rough and running in cross direction from the wind, the shock of landing broke the two left vertical wires. Upon landing, signals were given to the "Chicago" which was circling above, to proceed for help as repairing the engine was impossible. One vertical wire was then repaired to strengthen the plane for riding the rough sea. The personnel then watched for boats, to signal for help. At 2 p.m., a boat was sighted on the horizon but the "very" signals fired did not attract its attention and it passed from the view about 2:30 p.m. At 2:45 p.m., a second boat was sighted and, after picking up the signals from the plane, came along side at 3:30 p.m. A tow line equipped with floats was thrown overboard by the boat and picked up from one of the pontoons of the plane. The boat was the trawler "Rugby of Ramsey". At 4:00 p.m., it began to tow the plane to the Faroe Islands. This proved to be most difficult due to the rough sea and the cross wind. The swells caused a continual jerking of the plane as the trawler and plane were alternately hit by the swells. At 4:50 p.m., the destroyer U.S.S. Billingsley came along side and the tow line was transferred. When the U.S.S. Richmond appeared, the tow line was again transferred. Shortly after, a decision was reached to hoist the plane aboard the Richmond. The hoisting was started as quickly as possible, as the plane left the water and was about 3 feet in the air, the tackle, due to a sudden roll of the ship, carried away, dropping the boom on the plane. Three compartments of the left pontoon were punctured; the propeller was broken, and holes staved in the center section and upper left wing. There seemed to be three possible solutions to the situation at this point: first, to keep the plane afloat in the lee until after the storm subsided; second, disassemble the plane and save the fuselage; and third, to attempt towing again. The first decision was to try the first solution and while the pontoon was being repaired, the plane was stripped and work was rushed to repair the boom. This was soon abandoned due to the continued increasing intensity of the sea. The third plan of towing was then resorted to and the plane rode through the night, suffering greatly, however, from the rough sea.

At 5:30 the morning of the 4th, the plane capsized as a result of its becoming so waterlogged, the left pontoon parted at the front spreader bar and caused the tow line to part. The gasoline tanks were left open in order to assure its sinking, affording no menace to shipping, was then abandoned as it was decided that it was impossible to save the plane in any manner. Throughout the time following the breaking of the boom, the work on the plane was carried out under extreme difficulty and with great risk to the personnel engaged. Breakers were only a mile to leeward. The Richmond then proceeded to Reykjavik, carrying aboard the crew of the "Boston".

The U.S.S. Billingsley towing the Boston. (San Diego Air & Space Museum)