Underwater Searcher Finds Missing Plane in Lake Champlain After 50 Years

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Written By Angela Angela






Over fifty years ago, a small plane carrying five men vanished on a snowy night in Vermont. Now, experts think they’ve found the wreck of that plane in Lake Champlain.

The jet went missing after leaving Burlington airport for Providence, Rhode Island, in January 1971. Two crew members and three employees from a company in Georgia were on board. Despite many searches, the plane wasn’t found. The lake froze over soon after it disappeared, making the search harder.

Recently, underwater searcher Garry Kozak and his team found a jet wreck in the lake. It matches the description of the missing plane and was close to where it was last seen on radar. They used special equipment to take pictures of the wreck, which is about 200 feet deep near Juniper Island.

Kozak says they’re almost certain it’s the missing plane. Finding it brings some closure to the families of the people on board.

Kozak explains that finding crashed jets underwater is tricky because they break into small pieces. This makes them look like rocks on sonar scans.

Kozak has been doing this kind of work since the 1970s. In 2012, he helped find a German submarine from World War II.

Though families are relieved the plane is found, it brings up old pain. Barbara Nikita, whose uncle was the pilot, says it’s bittersweet. Frank Wilder, whose father was a passenger, feels the same.

When the ice melted after the crash, debris from the plane washed up. But it took decades to find the main wreckage.

Barbara Nikita and her cousin Kristina Nikita Coffey led the recent search. They contacted other families affected by the crash and worked together to find answers.

Now that they know where the plane is, the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating. They’ll decide if it’s worth trying to recover anything from the wreck.

The families plan to hold a memorial for the victims. This discovery comes after another recent one: the wreckage of a plane from a Tuskegee airman was found in Lake Huron.

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