The fatal crash was viewed by several in the vicinity, who were attracted by the low flying and stunting of the plane. According to witnesses the plane was buzzing the Bailey airport, coming down at terrific speed and zooming back up in the air. The accident reportedly occurred when the pilot tried a barrel roll at low altitude and very high speed, the plane striking the ground with such force that the nose was buried nearly 10 feet.
The crash marked the second time a service man has met tragic death near Lowell, the first occurring during the latter stages of the war when an army officer crashed in a marsh about three miles north of Lowell while enroute to his home in Michigan.
Hundreds of persons arrived at the scene a few minutes after the tragedy. Navy authorities and county and state police also arrived within a short time, roping off a large area to enable workers to extricate the body of the pilot from the tangled wreckage of that plane.
Lt. Ross, who had served more than three years with the Marines during World War II, held the Distinguished Flying Cross with a gold star, air medal with six stars, and a presidential unit citation.
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