Jet Wreckage Discovered After 53 Years

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Experts believe they have discovered the wreckage of a missing private jet in Lake Champlain 53 years after it vanished with five individuals onboard.

On January 27, 1971, a jet disappeared shortly after departing from Burlington Airport in Vermont, heading to Providence, Rhode Island. Among the passengers were two crew members and three employees of the Atlanta-based development company Cousin’s Properties.

Following the jet’s disappearance, initial search efforts yielded no results, and the lake froze over four days later.

When the ice thawed, some remains of the plane surfaced near Shelburne Point. Subsequently, there were at least 17 additional search efforts.

Last month, underwater searcher Garry Kozak and his team used a remotely operated vehicle to locate jet wreckage near Juniper Island, submerged in 200 feet of water. The wreckage bore a similar custom paint scheme to the missing aircraft and was found close to its last tracked location before it vanished.

“With all those pieces of evidence, we’re 99% absolutely sure,” Kozak said.

He noted that this finding provides the victims’ families with “some closure and answers a lot of the questions they had.”

“Spending 53 years not knowing if the plane was in the lake or maybe on a mountainside around there somewhere was distressing,” shared Frank Wilder, whose father was a passenger on the plane. “And again, I’m feeling relieved that I know where the plane is now, but unfortunately, it’s opening other questions, and we have to work on those now.”

The National Transportation Safety Board aims to verify whether this is indeed the missing aircraft. However, they do not manage salvage operations.

In light of the discovery, the victims’ families plan to organize a memorial service.

Ailin Vilches Arguello
Ailin Vilches Arguello
Editorial Intern. Hailing from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ailin Vilches Arguello graduated from the University of Rochester, NY, with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Language, Media, and Communications.

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