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Old 24th April 2009, 16:38
SALERNO1943 SALERNO1943 is offline
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Find crash site of aircraft in Salerno 1952

Here is a report about a aircraft crash site we find here in Salerno. Someone know if my report can be published in some USA magazine? Please if yes send me informations to contact magazine\newspapers. I wish to find some of relatives of crew to send them photos and other informations if they are interested. Please, excuse me my poor english. Thanks.

RESCUED 1952 USAF AIR DISASTER IN SALERNO

In the autumn of 1952 the metelliana valley was the scene of an air disaster, a military plane went crashing in the mountains near the town of Cava dei Tirreni. From time Luigi Fortunato, Daniele Gioiello and another researcher were thinking about how to find traces of this disaster. The initial step was to gather information about the event. In addition to the memories of older people have retrieved an article in the New York Times, 8 November 1952 in which he gave the news of an airplane of the United States fell on top of Spanish Mountain to the west of Salerno.

Having the assurance of researchers did a survey with the metal detector in the area described by the sources. Unfortunately the first attempt is not successful because we were unable to find any trace of the accident. On the way back, however, have crossed an elderly gentleman who asked if he knew something of the tragedy. He replied in the affirmative as a child was an eyewitness of what happened and showed them the area where the plane crashed. Some days later a further inspection in the area described having seemed to end with yet another hole in nothing since to suggest that it was the right place until after a couple of hours of research, have sprung up some pieces of aluminum on atop a rocky ridge at about 1000 meters in height. In the eyes of experienced researchers, they have appeared just as pieces of the fuselage of an aircraft. Recovering other small parts, they arrived at the base of a rock wall a few meters from the summit where they found a high concentration of metal parts. That was the point!

But that plane is this? Luigi Fortunato explains: "From our research we learned that it was a bombardier chases twin-engined A-26. The plane was introduced in aviation in the United States during the Second World War and had a great success so as to be used also in subsequent years under the name B-26 ".

What there was a fighter aircraft in the skies of Campania in 1952? The answer comes from the file on the incident that the Aviation Historical Office of the United States I was kindly made available. From it we learn that the plane belonged to the 168 ° Squadron bombing by of the USAFE based in Laon in France. In those days of November 1952 the unit was in Italy with a Capodichino base to attend the tutorial of the Atlantic Pact forces called Long Step. On the morning of 7 November, the squadron of the largest Jack Telford of 6 B-26 aircraft was to the simulation of a low-altitude attack against a convoy of
ships in the Mediterranean. The biggest Telford was a veteran of the Second World War with hundreds of hours of flight and countless missions and had a lot of experience having driven several aircraft including the A-20 and B-25. After completing the mission Telford ordered his pilots to do the route to and from Capodichino assigning different shares to navigation due to worsening weather conditions. A training plane had already undertaken the way back a few hours before because of problems of the apparatus radio. In landing the pilot lost control of the plane that went to smash on the track without causing any damage to the crew. This incident made the runway of the airport neapolitan impassable for several hours and forced two planes of the squadron to do the route to and from Rome. Two more planes landed at 19:51 when the obstacle was removed. Lacked the appeal of the aircraft commander Telford.

Reports in the file show two of the largest radio messages in which it stated that I am a 2000 feet (600 meters) and having passed the city of Naples, without being able to identify the airport. After these transmissions were not news. At 18:55, the B-26 AF of 5652 increased Telford crashed against the wall of the mountain killing blow on him and his navigator, Captain Jack J. Gilbert.

Why so experienced a pilot flew so low altitude in an area surrounded by mountains exceeding 1,000 meters? E 'acceptable to assume that Telford had exchanged because of rain and poor visibility of the Gulf of Salerno with that of Naples. He was so convinced of being near the airport of Capodichino. The testimonies of those who attended the tragedy from the ground agree that the plane flew very low and that nothing worth the final attempt to raise the airplane when it was now too close to the wall rock.

Since the file is learned that the relief was immediate. The unfolding of the tragedy had many witnesses and because of the powerful engine noise at low altitude is a result of the explosion and fire of the fort that was developed as a result of the impact. From her Abbey of Cava left two teams of volunteers led by fathers Anselmo Serafino, an experienced mountaineer, and Urbano Contestabile. Despite the darkness and the pouring rain, volunteers were able to reach the top where they could not help but see the total destruction of the aircraft and the lack of survivors. It was nearly midnight when the fire department found some human limbs burned.

In this sad story had a part Mother Lucia, the pious woman who Cavese in the years following the Second World War, he committed himself to give a decent burial to the hundreds of soldiers who lay in improvised graves on the battlefields of Italy. The day after the accident he wanted to see the poor remains of the unfortunate aviators and realized that many parts were missing so he decided to visit the scene of the disaster led by a charcoal of Sant 'Arcangelo. There, looking between cliffs and ravines, he managed to find the missing members of the victims. Among other things, along with aircraft debris researchers have found a safety pin. This enhancement, certainly not very appropriate to the envelope of an aviator, appears as a mute testimony of local presence of the tireless one woman Cava dei Tirreni.

His firm, like that of the rescuers was truly exceptional. Daniele Gioiello says: "Getting on the site of impact, which is located in an area inaccessible and not very accessible for a person young and trained very hard even if you do during the day and with the nice weather. To think that we have arrived by night in the pouring rain as did the rescuers or the 65 years of Mother Lucia leaves amazed. "

Researchers are now trying to find relatives of the pilots to inform them of what they have recovered and learned. They also made available to the aircraft debris SALERNO 1943 by which cooperate. The association takes care of recovering the historical memory of World War II in the province of Salerno and the story in question is for the airplane meant
for players who are closely connected. In this respect Sergio Zinna, one of the founders said: "We hope to expose the aircraft debris along with many other items we have available during an exhibition set up in September. In this way we hope to keep alive the memory of this tragic affair. "
Matteo Pierro
matteopierro@gmail.com

Peak where aircraft crashed.


B-26 aircraft


Part of aircraft structure


Some small parts.


Some other parts.


Researchers find crash site.
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