Army Is Investigating Airplane Crash Which Kills A Young Aviator
Silver Ship Plunges Into Marsh
After Striking Wires And Grazing Cottage Roof
Hampton Union, Thursday, July 25, 1940
An investigation by Army officials is underway today of the fatal plane crash Tuesday afternoon which took the life of Second Lieut. Raoul J. Bourgoin, 25, of Frenchville, Me., attached to the 36th Pursuit Squadron at Langley Field, Va.
Flying low because of a heavy fog, the pilot, apparently seeking to get his bearings after circling out to sea, attempted to cross the Ocean Boulevard midway between the North Shore Hotel and Great Boar's Head when the undercarriage of the fast, light fighting ship struck electric wires.
Wing Grazes Roof
The big silver ship then careened toward a cottage, one wing grazing the roof, winged over and went into a sideslip that carried it about half a mile further before it plunged into the marshland.
Army officials are conducting an investigation into the cause of the crash while the young officer's body was removed to Boston from the Portsmouth Navy Yard, where it had first been taken.
The young officer spent some of his holiday fishing in Caribou Lake to take back some of its denizens for his friends at the Virginia station.
The plane was first sighted over the Five Corners in Hampton and followed the Winnacunnet Road to the sea, going out over the water before the pilot reversed his course and headed west.
The ship gradually seemed to lose altitude and as it neared the Ocean Boulevard its landing gear struck the wires, then the ship swerved and struck the tip of the roof of the Overlook Cottage, now owned by Mrs. Henry Goodard of Baltimore, Md.
As the damaged plane continued on, observers on the ground saw wreckage and what looked like the body of a man fall but search failed to disclose any trace of a second victim, and authorities believed Bourgoin was flying alone. The ship is a single seater, although containing a rear compartment in which the flier's personal belongings were found.
Police Chief Jerome F. Harkness, Fire Chief George Lamott and a crew from the beach Coast Guard Station under command of Boatswain's Mate Hallie D. Larrabee rushed to the scene of the crash.
The plane, however, had landed almost upside down, and had plowed a 15-foot furrow in the marshy earth, and some difficulty was experienced in extricating the body.
Marines On Guard
An ambulance from the Portsmouth Naval Hospital in charge of Lieut. Comdr. L. M. DeCiccio, M.C., took the body to the [Portsmouth] Navy Yard while a detachment from the Marine Barracks in command of Capt. F. C. DeSantis was posted on guard at the scene of the crash to keep the wreckage intact until army officials could make arrangements to have the wreckage removed from the marshland. The remains of the craft will be taken to Boston where an examination will be made.
The body was viewed by Dr. Frederick S. Gray of Portsmouth, Rockingham county medical referee, who said death was due to multiple injuries, including a fractured skull.
As news of the accident spread in late afternoon, thousands of curious flocked to the scene in every manner of conveyance and created a traffic jam more serious than on many a Sunday. Chief Harkness had to call in extra town police and state troopers to unsnarl traffic and clear the road for official cars.