Bombs Away: Former B17 Gunner Dropped From Plane and Found Later In Crater

Now this would make for an interesting bailment and negligence case in North Carolina. Robert Comito, a former gunner on a B17, wanted to have his ashes sprinkled in the skies. His family gave the ashes to the Collings Foundation, which agreed to perform the aerial distribution of Comito. Later, however, sheriff deputies found a crater with Comito’s ashes in a box that was thrown from the plane without opening it.

Collings Foundation is a non-for-profit organization dedicated to aviation history:

The purpose of the Collings Foundation is to organize and support “living history” events that enable Americans to learn more about their heritage through direct participation. The original focus of the Foundation was transportation-related events such as antique car rallies, hill climbs, carriage and sleight rides, along with a winter ice-cutting festival in Stow, MA areas. During the mi-eighties, these activities were broadened to include aviation-related events such as air shows, barnstorming, historical reunions, Wings of Freedom Tour, Vietnam Memorial Flights, and joint museum displays.

The foundation insists that it did not know the box was plastic as opposed to cardboard. However, I would be a bit worried about tossing out a cardboard box without opening it.

Families have sued after learning that ashes were not distributed as requested, here. I do find it strange that family members are not present for such events to guarantee proper disposal and to witness the person’s final “resting place.”

Other families have sued for the accidental spillage for ashes, here.

Even thieves have been accused of mishandling ashes, here.

In our Thanksgiving torts we have one such potential lawsuit, here.

As for Comito, it represented his last bombing run. His family is going to ensure his correct distribution. The foundation is incredibly fortunate that no one was hit by the box. However, there may be a possibility for a lawsuit by the family for negligence, bailment, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. There might even be an attempt at showing an ultrahazardous activity to apply strict liability.

For the full story, click here and here.

10 thoughts on “Bombs Away: Former B17 Gunner Dropped From Plane and Found Later In Crater”

  1. well if they ask you to throw someones ashes out of a plane sprinkled in the sky i wouldnt mind vaccuming a plane out.

  2. I’m proud to say That was my grandfather who made headlines 🙂 He was one who never liked cameras and being the center of attention. I will say I find it ironic he made the news around NC! And I miss him so much!!! I know this made for interesting reading material and I will update that no the box did not hit any person or building and the ashes were returned to our family.

  3. Anonymously Yours, huh? Is there some critisisim behing the physics comment? And yes I have a nice shiny pair of gold wings. Semper Fi!

  4. USN Aircrew,

    The law of gravity and/or physics have no application in the Navy I see. Wouldn’t make sense, would it?

    Does a USN Aircrew man have more shinny button’s so a Real Marine knows who the head bellhop is?

  5. Having been involved in air drops of ashes I can tell you that opening up a box of ashes in an aircraft going 150mph with an open hatch is a recipe for disaster. We did it once and ended up vacuming up the ashes from the entire aircraft. After that out the went in the box. We always dropped in the ocean so no crater to be found. The article does not say where the box landed. It is ok to throw things from aircraft if there is no chance of injury or propery damage.

  6. rafflaw,

    I can see the headlines now. Man creamed by creamins or creamains cream man or ashes to ashes this man bit the dust or man was moved by the spirit or spiritual airline not the only way to fly.

  7. AY,
    That would be an interesting situation if someone was hit by the box. I just don’t understand what these people were thinking when they just dropped the entire box. How much more effort would it have been to just open it and then drop it because the wind would have dispersed the ashes and the box would not have been as dangerous. Of course, it would have been ideal for them to actually hold on to the box or transfer the ashes to a less harmful paper bag or cardboard box. They tried to take a short cut and it is going to cost them.

  8. Damn, what would be the liability if one were hit by this flying box of ashes?

    Would that be a new one in a possible “Weekend at Bernies III?”

  9. Looks like this guy made more of an “impact on the world” than he had expected.

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