29 Nov 1945

United States
  • A nor'easter storm caused an oil barge to run aground on the Penfield Reef in Long Island Sound just off Fairfield, Connecticut, United States, causing serious damage. The barge slowly took on water, and the crew of five were stranded on the ship as the poor weather prevented a rescue by boat. As a last resort, the police went to the nearby Sikorsky facilities, asking whether it was possible to use the manufacturer's helicopter to help the crewmen. Sikorsky chief pilot Dmitry "Jimmy" Viner (nephew of Igor Sikorsky), assisted by USAAF Captain Jack Beighle, took off in a R-5 helicopter equipped with a hydraulic hoist built by Breeze (forerunner of today's Breeze-Eastern Corporation) and rescued all five members of the crew. This was the first civilian helicopter rescue operation in history. ww2dbase [Fairfield, Connecticut | CPC]

Timeline Section Founder: Thomas Houlihan
Contributors: Alan Chanter, C. Peter Chen, Thomas Houlihan, Hugh Martyr, David Stubblebine
Special Thanks: Rory Curtis

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