The North Sea, 22 NOV 1975- Captain Jim Evans (33), pilot and Lt. George Kuprian (29), WSO flying an F-4D Phantom II (66-0256) call sign “Trest One” were conducting air combat training over the North Sea, 60 to 80 miles east of Great Yarmouth. Nearest…” (Great Yarmouth is a coastal town in Norfolk, east England). Trest Two was flown by Frank Chuba. Trest Three was flown by Ed Daniel. The aircraft was assigned to the 492nd TFS (48th TFW), RAF Lakenheath, UK.
Trest One suffered a compressor stall followed by a fire in the right engine. Prior to ejecting , Captain Evans coordinated with Drayton Center to dispatch a rescue helicopter to the scene from RAF Mildenhall. He then ordered the remaining flight Trest One and Two to establish a high and low RESCAP. At this point, Evans headed west to the English coast. This was when the second engine quit. When the flight controls seized up, the crew ejected. The ejections were successful and neither airman suffered injuries. The remaining flight, Trest Three (Lead) and Trest Two immediately established a RESCAP over the downed crew and followed them as they entered the water. Both crewmen were seen getting into the life rafts. The sea conditions were six to nine foot swells with a water temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The survival of Evans and Kuprian, wet and cold in the bitter weather was in serious doubt.
The rescue became complicated when both the rescue helicopter and a UK Coast Guard ship responded. Ed Daniel coordinated with the helicopter while trying to direct the ship to the survivors with no radio contact with the ship. All the while working with Trest Two trying to maintain visual contact with the survivors. He also had intermittent radio contact with Captain Evans who was coordinating his own rescue.
THIS IS THE RADIO TRAMSMISSION THAT DAY
Video by cowlovecow
Evans and Kuprian were both picked up by the British Helicopter. Kuprian never made it to his raft. In fact of the two under arm inflatables, only one inflated. The chopper accidentally saw him going to pick up Jimmy. Definitely “Angels on his shoulder”.
Ed Daniel remained on RESCAP until relieved by another flight of F-4’s from RAF Lakenheath. It was estimated that the RESCAP would be BINGO fuel at 3000 lbs and have to return to base. Daniel left with 1100 lbs remaining and never made it back to RAF Lakenheath. After 80 miles, he diverted to a nearby runway. The aircraft flamed out just after leaving the runway.
I have yet to find the Investagation Board’s report on this mishap. If you have a copy, please drop it in the comments.
This mishap happened “on the weekend of 22/23 NOV 1975”. Using my F-4 experience, if there was weekend flying they’d fly on Saturday to give us all of Sunday to fix whatever they, the pilots broke. Therefore I placed the date of the mishap as 22 NOV 1975.