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FOUR DAYS ON RUBBER RAFT

Airmen's Voyage

OUR WAR OORRJESPONDENT.,

WILLIAM MUNDAY.

CALCUTTA, «lune 16.-The crew of a U.S. Army heavy bomber which came down in the sea after hems damaged by «Tapanese fire at Akyab, Southern Burma, sailed io a rubber raft for four days up the Bay of Bengal to an Indian village, from which they were rescued by a !

transport plane. I

They returned fco their base on j

Friday after they had been missing

for five days. j

Machine-gun bursts struck the port side engine as the bomber s-wooptïd

to within 30ft. of a Akyab airfield.

The pilot, i-irst-Lleulenant Clarke Johnston (Dallasl, flew seaward, but

was forced to come down, the air- j

craft, sinking in 15 minutes. I

Before this, however, the survivors, j

who included an R.A.'F. sergeant- I

gunner, pushed off in rubber boats, | with emergency rattons and water, j

On an uninhabited island, fioodless and waterless, they bound the boats

together to make a raft, hoisted an |

improvised sail, and set out over the leaden sea under a burning sun towards India.

On Thursday night last they reached land through surf, which capsized the raft, leaving them to scramble ashore over jagged rocks in a monsoon»! storm.

In the morning they woke wet and . hungry and surrounded by friendly I Indian villagers. I

Notified by telegraph. Lieutenant-, Colonel Conrad Necrason (Coopers- ¡ lown, New York,, arranged for «ni American. Charles Sharpe, a veteran ! pilot, to pick them up. He took all ' safely on board in a. heavy transport and landed on a sandy beach between squalls.

Other survivors were Co-Pilot Second-Lieutenant Thomas Murphy (Shreveport, Louisiana 1. Navigator

First-Lieutenant Harry McCool fOklo- . norna City», .Bombardier Second-1 Lieutenant Troy Drew í Atlanta),1

Gunner P.F.C. Joseph Ayoub tEl j Pasoi. and Radioman Corporal Hiram I

Cowen Thorp (Washington!. j

(World coprriibi rt«erre<l.)

Digitisation generously supported by
Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation
Digitisation generously supported by

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