US Air Force Super Sabre jet fighter crash on Gorleston riverside
PUBLISHED: 15:23 29 April 2018 | UPDATED: 15:23 29 April 2018
It was school half-term, October 27, 1964 – and a US Air Force F-100 Super Sabre jet fighter plunged into Gorleston’s riverbank, bursting into flames.
Digging around in the Mercury’s archives located these pictures, which will be familiar to our long-time readers, but perhaps the incident is unknown to others.
Eyewitnesses of the time remember the grey streak of the plane coming down and a ball of flame.
One young witness said: “Just before the plane went down, one of the boats had come in past the very same spot - had it been just a few moments later, the plane might have clipped its mast.
“Suddenly the jet came in from the east, over the Birds Eye factory, and went into a dive and ploughed into the mudflats on the opposite bank and burst into flames.”
The pilot, Capt James Chestnut, based at Lakenheath in Suffolk, had safely ejected after two mid-air explosions caused his controls to freeze over the North Sea, but eye-witnesses were unaware he had landed safely near Lawn Avenue in Yarmouth.
It was reported that he had tried to point the jet out to sea before he baled out, but it came inland. There was damage to the houses and boats along the river from the wreckage, but it was a miracle nobody was killed or injured.
It was schoolboy’s dream with youngsters picking up pieces of the debris – no doubt some residents will still have them.