SSgt Huisjen bailed out and saw 4 parachutes below. He fell for about 8 minutes and about 200 feet from the water exited the overcast. He saw 3 parachutes in the water. He did not land near them but was swept by wind far out into the lake before he hit the water. He freed himself from the parachute. He started swimming but became tired. He got out of his clothing. He squelched panic and swam toward an island. He was in the water about an hour. A native dugout appeared but they seemed afraid to take him into the boat. He held and kept trying to get in and they aided him. He used gestures to indicate others were in the water. He saw a parachute and rowed to it but it was his. They rowed to an island and he joined Lt White and others.

 

Interviewers notes:

 

Natives at first reluctant became very helpful and sympathetic. Natives had interest in watches, rings, crash bracelets. He suggested that crewmen be advised to leave behind all such trinkets. When Lt Hammond was exhausted, natives tried to remove his rings.
Lt Russell had great difficulty removing the life raft and needed help to do so because the grip is tiny. He suggested 4 or 5 inch grips with a bar be devised. Russell and the pilot agreed there should be a remote life raft release be installed in the cockpit.
Several crewmen remarked they had not known the jungle kit made a good life preserver to keep them afloat.
The pilot suggested ditching rocedures be changed to:
A.     Eight men sit in the front compartment ahead of the lower forward turret, on the floor, with backs toward the nose of the aircraft.

B.      Pilot use full power to all engines on approach to make the contact a power-on stall. This will allow the pilot to select the exact moment of contact.

 

1stLt Arthur B. Tuttle report as flight engineer: Normal take-off from Piardoba airfield. About ½ hour before ditching, right gunner reported “number four is smoking.” Aircraft in a climb at the time, using power setting of 2400 rpm – 43.5” manifold pressure. At report of smoke, power reduced to 2200 rpm – 34” mp. All engine instruments showed normal indications. Smoke reported to have reduced in volume. About 15 minutes later, large column of smoke and oit suddenly streamed out of the upper part of the # 4 engine nacelle. Right gunnerreported flames. Cowl flaps were opened at about 15º in an attempt to blow the fire out. This failed and the flaps were closed and the CO2  extinguishers were used. These did not extinguish the flames which were rapidly burning the upper and left side of the nacelle. At about 0935, the pilot gave the order to bail out. The co-pilot, bombardier, radar operator, senior gunner, left gunner, right gunner, tail gunner, and the two passengers jumped at once. The pilot, navigator, flight engineer, and radio operator stayed. It was noticed the fire was no longer burning. The remaining crew stayed to bring it to a base for repairs. Because the fire burned the oil lines, it was impossible to feather the engine and the propellars windmilled, necessitating high power to the other three engines. The 100 octane fuel cargo was not salvoed due to the low speed of the B-29. It was felt that additional drag from open bomb bay doors would bring the air speed to below stalling speed. The release of fuel might cause an explosion. A large lake was observed and the pilot chose to ditch. The B-29 was brought in, a power-on, low approach and struck the water but did not skip or bounce. The crew climbed out escape windows, released the life rafts and paddled to shore The B-29 settled within 30-45 minutes.