Saturday, January 30, 2016

Ask the Historical Society: Sassafras crash

The Cecil Whig newspaper ran this photo of the rescue efforts in the Sassafras River a day after the crash. 

Do you have any information about a military plane crashing on the Sassafras River sometime in the late 1960s or early 1970s?

— Nicole Benson, Middletown, Delaware

Two Martin-Marietta test pilots perished when a U.S. Air Force twin-engine jet bomber plunged into the Sassafras River near Ordinary Point, on Tuesday, Dec. 16, 1969. 

Taking off from Martin Airport at Middle River, the B-57 was on a test flight. 

According to the Pentagon, electronic modifications had been made and the plane was in the air for about 35 minutes before going down about 1:45 p.m. 

Two helicopters, a search plane, rescue boats, divers, local fire companies and police agencies responded to the incident, the Cecil Whig reported.

— Mike Dixon


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