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Pittsburgh B-25 Monongahela River Mystery

B-25 Obituary
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IN MEMORIAM (1956)

(Research notes: Everyone has a story to tell. At the minimum, an obituary is a notice in the newspaper of a death and funeral arrangements. But it can be so much more. It can be a record of the extended family – both living and dead. It can be a short biographical piece that will keep that person alive in our memory. What would the deceased most want to be remembered for in his or her life?)

Our B-25 figured in at least three local obituaries:

 

"Frank William Etzel Sr.: Master of Many Trades Who Saved B-25 Airman after Crash into Mon" by Matthew P. Smith of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 24 October 1995: "While he was a Baldwin patrolman, Mr. Etzel helped rescue one of the airmen aboard a B-25 bomber that crashed in the Monongahela River on January 31, 1956. He and two other men helped the crewman (Master Sergeant Alfred J. Alleman) out of the icy water and took him to St. Joseph Hospital…"

 

 

Recounting Steven Muick’s "life full of adventure as a riverboat captain," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Staff Writer Carmen J. Lee noted on Monday, June 2, 1997 that "in 1956, he (Captain Muick) fished Airman 2nd Class Charles L. Smith out of the Monongahela River after his B-25 bomber plunged into the water and sank."

 

 

AF44-29125 is the mainstay of "Obituary: Carol E. Long / Tugboat captain who saw bomber crash into Mon." On Monday, November 19, 2007, Steve Twedt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote:

"But, one day in January 1956, Mr. Long was also a witness to history -- the crash of a Mitchell B-25 bomber in the Monongahela River, east of the Glenwood Bridge.

"Mr. Long, who was skippering the Expeditor tugboat at the time, was close enough that he was able to help rescuers pull surviving crew members out of the icy river. Two others died….

"Mr. Long's daughter, Cheryl Haberstock of Pleasant Hills, said her father saw some wreckage being carted away on barges. But he wouldn't elaborate on the particulars after he received threatening phone calls warning him not to talk about what he had seen.

"He wouldn't talk to anybody about it," she said. "He was too scared."

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