In May 1945, only 6 of 19 passengers were recovered. There are still mortal remains somewhere in the river Rhine. Therefore, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) in the United States of America, which is responsible for this air crash today, was informed of the discovery of the wreckage on July 5, 2019.
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!
During the Trolley Mission, a tragic plane crash occurred on the first flight day (May 7, 1945), in which all 19 crew members and passengers were killed. Although the pilots were instructed to maintain a minimum safety altitude during the flights, one of the planes flew much too low over the Urmitz railway bridge, which is also known as the “Rheinbrücke Engers-Urmitz” or originally as the “Kronprinz-Wilhelm-Brücke”. At that time, eyewitnesses reported that the Allied troops had stretched telephone, power and supply lines over the river Rhine at a height of approx. 30 meters. They reported that the B24 aircraft, which was flying far too low, probably collided with these supply lines. During the Trolley Mission usually four to six airplanes flew in the convoy, so this crash was photographed by crew members from the other airplanes. The aircraft was named “The Falcon Returns” with the serial number 44-10620, which belonged to the 564th bomb squadron and the 398th bomb group of the US Air Force.