The crew decided to circle the Cathedral in Koblenz. Presumably the airplane unfortunately flew much too low and collided with supply lines, which were stretched over the river Rhine. Due to the low altitude an evasive maneuver of the airplane was not possible any more. The plane with the name “The Falcon Returns” (SN 44-10620, B-24 J) crashed into one of the bridge piers.
Pilot, copilot, crew members and passengers died: George Saunderson, Cornelius Adkins, Stephen Curtis, John Kunkel, Chester Conrad, William Riser, Raymond Ruth, Thomas Evans, Gordon Thomas, Stanley Anderson, Elbert Ravenscraft, Ronald Maier, Fredrick Selk, Lilburn Daly, Alfred Odegard, John Dunnings, William Emery, Gildo Uliana and Abe Becker. What a useless loss!
The fact that this plane crash is mentioned in such detail on this website has a phenomenal and spectacular background, because in June 2019 the German Water Police turned to the author Markus Lenz with the note that on October 22, 2018, around 10:00 a.m. wreck parts were salvaged due to the extreme low water in the river Rhine, which definitely came from the plane that crashed on May 7, 1945.
Among the parts salvaged were parts of the bulletproof glass pane of the Emerson turret, the drive motor of the Emerson “Electric Nose Turret” and various control levers for the turret. It should be noted that Emerson Electric Company, based in Ferguson, Missouri, was founded in 1890 and was the largest manufacturer of aircraft armament systems during the Second World War.
The Police Headquarters (Department of Operations, Logistics and Technology of the Water Police) have kindly provided two photos of the said wreck parts for the website of the Trolley Mission. The German Water Police will soon provide the author Markus Lenz and his website with further photos.
© Markus Schaaf & Nico Becker (Police)