Helicopter Accidents

This page documents U.S. Air Force helicopter accidents. If you have any information to contribute, please contact us.

Rapid City, SD
22 Feb 1955

S/N #53-4406 (Not confirmed)

NOTE: It is not confirmed that the helicopter was an H-19B or where it was stationed at during this time. Through extensive Internet search, I was able to locate an H-19B crash on this date in the location described (http://accident-report.com/Yearly/1955/5502.html). The database shows the pilot was “MARTIN, DEAN E”. If anyone can confirm this information, please let contact us.

February 22, 1955 Accident 
The Black Hills Weekly (Deadwood, South Dakota),
Wed, Feb 23, 1955, page 4

Jet, Copter Crash Kills 2

RAPID CITY, S.D. (UP) – A helicopter – flying to the site of a downed jet plane crashed near Mud Butte, S.D., Thursday night, killing one airman.

The pilot of the jet was killed when his parachute failed to open. The jet plane crashed late Thursday afternoon.

Four others aboard the copter suffered cuts and bruises but were not hospitalied.

Enroute to the early crash, the victim of the helicopter crash was Airman Third Class Stanislaus Countess, 17, a member of the 28th Air Police Squadron at Ellsworth Air Force Base here. His mother, Mrs. Mary Butts, lives in Baltimore, MD.

Slightly injured were Lt. Col. Jack E. Stephens, air operations officer at Ellsworth: Maj. John D. Malley, flying safety officer; 1st Lt. Dean E. Martin, the helicopter pilot of the 28th Operations Squadron and A1C Ernest O’Brien, of the 28th Air Police Squadron.

Countess and O’Brien were being sent to guard the wreckage of the F-86 jet. Stephens and Malley were enroute to investigate the first crash.

Authorities at Ellsworth said engine failure was believed responsible for the helicopter crash which occurred about three miles east of Mud Butte about 9 p.m. (MST).

Too low for chute, the pilot of the jet – Capt. David E. Baker, 33, Lynn, Mass. – was killed when his parachute failed to open before the plane crashed. Baker was flight leader of the 54th Fighter Interceptor Squadron.

He was a Korean War veteran with 20 F-51 missions to his credit. His widow and children live here.

The plane was on a local flight when it crashed. It was loaded with combat rockets and air base authorities warned the public away from the scene of the crash. Baker apparently was ejected at too low an altitude for his parachute to open, after his jet apparently developed mechanical trouble.

The body was found about three miles from the crashed plane.

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