A forest ranger in Maine has found what could be an ejection seat from a B-52 Stratofortress bomber that went down on a western Maine mountin almost 50 years ago, killing seven airmen.
The Huffington Post reports that Bruce Reed of the Maine Forest Service stated on Tuesday that he discovered the seat on an overgrown logging road while he was hunting on Elephant Mountain near Greenville last fall.
Reed stated, according to MPBN that:
“I was hunting up on the side of the mountain and there’s these little old woods roads that kind of go perpendicular with the slope. And I walking from one to the other and I came on to this one, and when I did I immediately saw the piece of aluminum and I went over and looked at it.”
He returned to the site last Saturday, in order to take photos and record the identification numbers on the sides, hoping to confirm it came from the fated B-52 Stratofortress bomber.
MPBN reports that the accident happened on January 24, 1963, when an unarmed B-52 left the Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts on a low-level training mission. The bomber was flying at around 500 feet when it encountered turbulence. The pilot was unable to avoid it, and the crew members heard a loud noise, which could have been an explosion.
The plane went into a 40-degree right turn and dove toward the ground. The pilot ordered everyone to eject, but only three people made the daring attempt, according to MPBN. The pilot and his navigator were the only two to survive, and six other airmen lost their lives.
The B-52 bomber’s crash site is about five miles southwest of Moosehead Lake, and the ejection seat was found a ways away, owing to the way the seat broke away after the parachute ejected.
The Huffington Post reports that Bruce Reed is excited to recover the seat and show it to the two remaining members of the fated training mission.
MPBN reports that Reed stated:
“And the survivor–you know they’re anxious to take a look at it to see if it’s the seat that he was in, but I imagine once we bring it down and get it to him we’ll know the whole story.”
The crew who maintains the wreckage site believes the seat may have been that of the plane’s navigator, Capt. Gerald J. Adler.
Check out more information about the 1963 B-52 Stratofortress crash here: