43-30600         C87

 

The C-87 was a Consolidated Aircraft transport derivative, Liberator Express, of the B-24 Liberator bomber. The B-24 Liberator variants included the C-87, the C-87A VIP transport, the X-87B, and the C-109 fuel transport. On 10 July 1944, a C-87, # 30600, assigned to 10th Air Force, Air Transport Command, 28th Transport Group, 1327th AAF Base Unit, departed the airfield at Tezpur, India, on a cargo mission to Chengtu, China, through the Himalayan mountain range (the Hump). It went down 20 miles NNW of Kamaing, Burma, along the Mogaung River; 4 miles NE of Warazup, Burma. The crew were:

 

                                                 Pilot                             1stLt Charles D. Heller                        0-403595

                                                 Co-Pilot                       1stLt Edward J. Komyati                     0-729023

                                                 Engineer                      SSgt James L. Hemler                          16045871

                                                 Radio Operator            PFC Donald J. Tomcheck                    39185567

 

There was no next-of-kin list in the MACR folder. At first report 1stLt Komyati was hospitalized at 20th General Hospital for exhaustion. Other crewmen are missing. The body of 1stLt Heller was found in the wreckage. The body of PFC Tomcheck was found in the river.

 

1stLt Komayati reported: An hour and 35 minutes from Tezpur, India, bad weather was encoun-tered and icing was on the wings at 18,500 feet. 1stLt Heller took control and descended to 17,500. Turbulence was severe. The gyro went awry and Lt Heller told SSgt Hemler to adjust engine vacuum. The aircraft went into a steep spiral turn. Speed was up to 220 MPH and was leveled out. Speed was reduced to 150 MPH. The compass was at course 270º. Lt. Heller ordered the crew to put on parachutes. The plane went into a right steep spiral and gained speed to 320 MPH. No order to bail out was given. Suddenly Komayati felt a gust of wind and dust and found himself airborne and opened his chute. He saw metal falling around him. He did not know what happened. He landed in swamp about 4 miles NE of Warazup, Burma. An L-5 overflew and spotted him. The L-5 pilot dropped a note that a search party would be sent. He found a C-87 door about 25’ from where he landed. The search of American and Chinese soldiers from Warazup reached him at 1100 hours the next morning. An L-5 flew him from Warazup to Tingkawk Sakan, Burma. A C-47 medical plane flew him to Ledo, India. From Ledo he was flown to Jorhat, India, and then to Tezpur, India, arriving at 1700 hours on 15 July 1944.