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Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod holds memorial for crew of Aircraft 1432

by U.S. Coast Guard 1st District Northeast 15 Feb 20:10 UTC

The crew of Air Station Cape Cod held a 40th anniversary memorial service Wednesday for the crew of Aircraft 1432 who gave the ultimate sacrifice on Feb. 18, 1979.

Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Jim Stiles, Royal Canadian Air Force Captain George Burge, Petty Officer 2nd Class John Tait, Petty Officer 2nd Class Bruce Kaehler and Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark Torr launched 40 years ago to rescue a fisherman from the Japanese fishing boat Kaisei Maru. The weather was severe: winds in excess of 30 knots, seas over 20 ft., and reduced visibility from snow.

This was the third attempt to medevac the crew member, the other attempts proving unsuccessful due to weather conditions and not knowing the exact position of the fishing boat. At 5 a.m., the boat was located and the rescue basket lowered. During the rescue, the HH-3F Pelican experienced a sudden loss of power and fell into the turbulent seas, claiming four out of the five lives. Torr was the sole survivor.

The crew of Air Station Cape Cod, family, friends, and past shipmates gathered to honor the memory of this fatal accident, where four crew members gave their lives.

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