Dakota Datebook

B-17 Minot Crash

Sunday, December 12, 2004

On this date in 1944, a four-engine B-17 bomber crashed three miles north of Minot. Al Erb said he saw the plane fly in low over his farm buildings, swing around with its right wing dipping lower, then watched it “sideslip” into his cornfield.

Erb and his son, Ray, found five crew members dead and four others walking around in a daze. Ray took the injured survivors to the highway in his truck, and two passing motorists drove them to a Minot hospital.

Just four days earlier, two planes had collided over the army airfield in Sioux Falls, SD. One plane fell onto a barracks, leaving a total of ten servicemen dead. Seven others parachuted to safety.

Dakota Datebook written by Merry Helm

This text and audio may not be copied without securing prior permission from Prairie Public.

Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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