The statement by 1stLt Grinnan was: “My first sight of Lt. Goad’s plane in trouble was approximately two or three minutes before it disintegrated. From the co-pilot’s seat in the lead ship, I saw the bomb-bay aflame and smoking badly, also that Lt. Goad was having difficulty holding his position in formation upon our right wing. Several enemy fighter attacks followed after this, and I was able only to get interrupted glimpses of Lt. Goad’s plane. However, about a minute before the end, it pulled up well into position and I could see that the fire and smoke had increased. At this point, Lt. Goad pulled away to the right ahead and below us and we turned away also for the safety of the formation. During this last minute no enemy attacks were made and I saw what looked to bea bomb-bay door drop off, smoking. A big fire then was plainly visible in the bomb-bay from which still issued a long trail of black smoke. The plane had pulled away to a distance roughly 500 yards away from us, when the wings on either side collapsed downwards, the fuselage broke in two – then quickly followed the complete disintegration of the main parts, which fell away behind us. I last saw several great blazes and many individual pieces falling. From my position, it was impossible to see any individual person. After first seeing him in trouble, we were unable to contact Lt. Goad by radio.”

 

Bombardier 2ndLt Gebert was heard to say before he bailed out 30 miles west of Rangoon, “Let’s get out of this firetrap.” He survived and was eventually returned to the U.S. for medical care (Santa Ana, CA). TSgt Austin did not bail out – he was trapped on the flight deck. He was last heard on the interphone five minutes before being shot down. He went down with the aircraft. TSgt Witte did not bail out – he was trapped on the flight deck. He was last heard on the interphone ten minutes before being shot down. He went down with the aircraft. SSgt Marshall did not bail out – he was trapped on the flight deck. SSgt Chiarello did not bail out. The fire and concussion from the explosion must have knocked him senseless. He was last seen at the waist gunner position in the aircraft just before it was shot down. Sgt Peters did not bail out because of the concussion from the explosion; last seen at a waist gun on the aircraft just before it was shot down. SSgt Sawyer did bail out, west of Rangoon; he was slightly injured, He was eventually returned to the U.S.

 

Navigator 2ndLt Clarence A. King submitted a descriptive statement. Promoted to 1stLt, King wrote: The aircraft went down 14 October 1943, in a high altitude bombing mission on the Rangoon docks at about 1130 hours at 22,500 feet. Left formation 30 miles west of Rangoon. He bailed out as did four others. The pilot and co-pilot were blown through the roof of the plane during the explosion. Lt. King and the bombardier bailed out voluntarily. The waist gunner, Sawyer, bailed out first after the fire started and before the explosion. The aircraft struck the ground in pieces about 40 miles west of Rangoon. The crew members who were still aboard when the aircraft struck the ground included Austin, Witte, Marshall, Chiarello and Peters. They did not bail out. The five who bailed out survived and have returned to the U.S.  He added: “ I’m sorry I’m so unable to give detailed information about those five unfortunate boys but I was in the nose of the ship with the bombardier all the time and out interphone system went out when we were hit. I was unable to contact any of those in another part of the ship. It was impossible because of the fire to get back to the other parts of the ship from the nose. All I can say is that I’m lucky to be alive now.”

 

Burmese told a survivor that they only found three remains in the crashed aircraft. TSgt Austin did not have a parachute on and had no time to don one. Natives found a total of four bodies, three in the tail section. They buried them nearby. TSgt Witte had been in the top turret. The enemy attacked and the bomb bay was hit and a fire erupted. The aircraft separated in the middle and disintegrated.