22 JUNE 1945
First Lieutenant Arthur G. Carothers, pilot of "Playmate Four One", was returning home from his mission to Borneo when he intercepted a distress message at 1330 stating that a B-24 was in trouble and would have to crash land on the sea at approximately 04 degrees 35'S 120 degrees 30'E. (actually crash landed at 00 degrees 35'N 124 degrees 35'E) Lieutenant Carothers set course for the scene of the crash and sighted six men of the B-24 crew on the beach. Lieutenant Carothers landed in a very rough sea and took the six men aboard and attempted to take-off at 1610. After a long and hazardous run toward the open sea, the ship bounced from a swell, held for a moment and then crashed head on into an oncoming wave. The force of the impact ripped the pilot and navigator's compartments wide open and catapulted the pilot, co-pilot and radio operator into the sea, still strapped in their seats.
Eleven men escaped, three being killed in the crash. The uninjured survivors launched a life raft and placed the injured in the dinghy, the rest hanging onto the gunwales. The ship, 44-33885, sank in 40 minutes. [Aircraft was written off 23 June 1945 per INDIVIDUAL AIRCRAFT RECORD CARD3] Fortunately, 2Lt Bryan W. Guess, pilot of Playmate 42, having completed a special search of the southern Celebes was in the vicinity of the B-24 crash and arrived just as Lieutenant Corothers was taxiing his ship inshore to pick up the six original survivors. While Lieutenant Guess circled Playmate 41, a combat photographer made a moving picture of the entire action. They watched the six survivors paddle out to the ill-fated rescue ship, saw Playmate 41 make her last run, watched her as she finally struggled free from the grasp of the sea, falter in the air and fall back to destruction, carrying with her one member of the gallant crew and two survivors from the B-24. Lieutenant Guess saw 11 men escape from the stricken ship. Profiting from the experience of his fellow pilot, Lieutenant Corothers, he landed in the sheltered bay, two miles distant and taxied to the eleven survivors clinging to their life raft in the boiling sea. After all survivors were taken aboard, Lieutenant Guess taxied back to the sheltered waters of the bay, but due to the rising sea was forced to remain there until 1845 before the sea subsided sufficiently for a safe take-off. Three members of the Playmate crew were severely injured in the crash and were given emergency medical treatment by the Flight Surgeon, Captain Nicholas Bailey, who escaped from the crash uninjured, and the medical technician on Playmate 42. None of the other survivors or crewmembers were injured. Take-off was accomplished at 1845 and with the survivors of two crews, Playmate 42 arrived at Morotai at 2045. All rescued personnel were admitted to the 155th Station Hospital for treatment and observation. Lieutenant Carothers, pilot of Playmate 41, sustained a fracture of his right fibula and other lacerations. Sergeant Mason and Sergeant Childs sustained multiple bruises and lacerations. The ill-fated B-24 with a crew of eight was returning from a photographic mission over the southern Celebes when two of their engines cut out, forcing them to bail out or ditch the ship. Four men elected to bail out. The pilot and co-pilot ditched the ship and escaped. All six survivors reached the shore uninjured. The two remaining crewmembers were not seen after the four men bailed out, although some of the survivors thought they saw them bail out. However, this story could not be substantiated as rescue planes from this Group searched the sea and shore line for several days, seeking the two lost airmen, but the search was fruitless and the men given up as lost. It is possible that they escaped from the ship and reached shore but the area is infested with Japs. If they did reach land, they may have been killed or taken prisoner.

This is the first time any survivors were lost after being rescued by this Squadron. Anyone who has ever participated in a water landing or take-off, can appreciate the hazards which our gallant crews undergo every time they land on the open sea. Remarks:

Survivors:   OA-10A - 44-33885

P- 2nd Lt. Arthur G. Carothers 0-831127
CP- 2nd Lt. Eugene Fontinell 0-2023992
FS- Capt Nicholas E. Bailey 0-419154
E- Cpl Alfred Chieca 32874227
R- Pfc Granville S. Mason 12130979
AR- Sgt Donald C. Childs 34544815
V- S/Sgt Albert A. Kurto 31173969

B-24 Crew:

2nd Lt. Walter E. Kulig 0-811016
Cpl Daniel Loeffelholz 36288151
Sgt Glenn Gatenby 37725868
Sgt Robert Kahl 35097549

Men reported down with OA-10A - 44-33885


2nd Lt. William E. Thornton 0-2064357 - (2nd ERS)
2Lt Douglas S. Oren 372nd Bomb Sq.
F/O Albert Lorenz 372nd Bomb Sq.

USAAF SERNO: 44-33885 (CV-342)**  
"Playmate 41"  
(Pilot) 1st Lt. Arthur C. Carothers; (Co-Pilot) Flt Off. Eugene Fontinell; (Flight Surgeon) Captain Nicholas Bailey; (Navigator) 2nd Lt. William E. Thornton; (Engineer) Corporal Alfred Chieca; (Radio) Private First Class Granville Mason; (AR) Sgt Donald Childs; (Radar) S/Sgt Albert A. Kurto

The narrative of these rescues was compiled and published in April 1946 from logbooks of pilots, notes, letters, and other
information by secretary Marina G. de Guzman in Pampanga, Philippines.

  * Aircraft produced at Canadian Vickers Ldt, Cartierville, Quebec, Canada
** Canadian Vickers contract number that was unique to each aircraft produced by at the Cartierville, Quebec plan


MARCH '45 - APRIL '45 - MAY '45 - JUNE '45 -
JULY '45  - AUGUST '45 - SEPTEMBER '45


2nd Emergency Rescue Squadron -  All Rights Reserved