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Pittsburgh B-25 Monongahela River Mystery

B-25 Roll Call
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Six Rescued?
IN MEMORIAM (1956)

(Research notes: The optimal facet of the 1976 inquiry was our ability to personally interview so many key individuals. There were officially six men on board that ill-fated aircraft. However, if you question all of the personnel who rescued airmen that day and tally the score, the actual total never quite seems to match.)

Rank and name: Major William L. Dotson

Date of birth: August 20, 1921

Role during flight: Pilot

Rescued by: Mark Brandon and Isaac Dominic

Put ashore at: Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation landing at Rutherglen Street

Hospital: Montefiore Hospital

Details: Dotson was saved when Mark Brandon and Isaac Dominic of the crew of the Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation towboat Titan, piloted by Captain James D. Cypher, launched a skiff and pulled him to safety.

 

 

Rank and name: "Captain John F. Jamieson"

Age: Looked to be in his mid-fifties

Role during flight: Co-pilot

Rescued by: Hank Cisclo and Kenneth Hall of the crew of the Ohio Barge Line, Inc towboat Expeditor, piloted by Captain Carol E. Long.

Put ashore at: Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation landing at Rutherglen Street

Hospital: Montefiore Hospital

Details: The Titan and Expeditor docked together at the J&L plant landing at Rutherglen Street. After a brief exchange with the ranking police officer at the scene, this "Jamieson" was immediately brought aboard the Titan. Captain Cypher offered Dotson and "Jamieson" hot showers and coffee and the "FBI" was called. In Captain Cypher’s own words: "They (the reporters) wanted to swarm all over and we put them off and we called the government. And the government men came and that’s the only ones we’d leave interview them."

Dotson and "Jamieson" were then taken to Montefiore Hospital. Even though Major Dotson and the real Captain Jamieson had been photographed earlier and separately that day, (Dotson aboard the Titan and Jamieson on a gurney at the Hazelwood Avenue location) these two men suddenly became quite camera shy. The nurse on duty Lillian O’Donnell revealed: "When the pilot and the co-pilot were being admitted, they were in the Emergency Room for a long time, but when they were being admitted to the room, all the photographers and reporters were all around. Neither the pilot nor co-pilot wanted to be photographed. So I put a light towel over their faces and we took them, quickly, on stretchers over to the room where they were being admitted."

 

 

Rank and name: Captain John F. Jamieson

Date of birth: October 15, 1923

Role during flight: Co-pilot

Rescued by: Sergeant P. R. Settnek and Patrolman R. W. Zurcher aboard the Pittsburgh River Patrol launch Beaver

Put ashore at: Hazelwood Avenue

Hospital: Unknown

Details: During his February 27, 1976 interview on KDKA radio, Jamieson could not recall the name of the hospital he was taken to, but vehemently denied sharing the slightest company with Dotson or anyone else. He stated: "No. No. I was taken by myself. I was completely separated from all of the other members of the crew. They all left before I did because I was held in the hospital for several days."

 

 

Rank and name: Staff Sergeant Walter E. Soocey

Date of birth: July 29, 1923

Role during flight: Crew Chief

Declared dead: February 10, 1956

Cause of death: Accidental Drowning

Body recovered: May 28, 1956 9:43 AM at foot of Wood Street

Body positively identified by: Lt. Francis S. Tanzer USAF and Dog Tags

Coroner: Jules Filo

 

 

Rank and name: Master Sergeant Alfred J. Alleman

Age: 26

Role during flight: Passenger

Rescued by: Don DeVine and Lieutenant Charles Colosi

Hospital: St. Joseph Hospital

Details: Alleman swam for the south bank of the Monongahela River and was aided ashore when Don DeVine, 32, of Alliance, Ohio, a trucker for the J. Miller Company of Cleveland and Baldwin Police Lieutenant Charles Colosi waded in for the rescue.

 

 

Rank and name: Airman Second Class Charles L. Smith

Age: 18

Role during flight: Passenger

Rescued by: Charles Zubick towboat piloted by Captain Steven Muick

Put ashore at: American Oil Company (AMOCO) tank farm on the Carson Street side, the south side of the Monongahela River

Hospital: Magee Hospital

 

 

Rank and name: Captain Jean P. Ingraham

Date of birth: January 17, 1927

Role during flight: Passenger

Declared dead: February 10, 1956

Cause of death: Accidental Drowning

Body recovered: April 8, 1956 11:10 AM at foot of 17th Street, South Side

Body positively identified by: Wayne L. Severson, M. D., and Captain John C. Makan USAF, DDS

Coroner: Fred Wiehagen

Suggested reading

Goerman, Robert A., Thirty Seconds over Pittsburgh, FATE magazine, May-June 2009 www.fatemag.com

Johns, Robert H., The Incident That Could Have Killed Pittsburgh, Closson Press, September 2008 www.clossonpress.com