Piece of 49 Year old Plane Crash Recovered on Elephant Mt.
On January 24, 1963, a B52 flying out of Massachusetts crashed near Greenville.All but two of the nine U.S. Air Force crew members on board died, and the debris from the flight was turned into a memorial to honor them.While it’s been nearly fifty years since the crash, local resident Pete Pratt could piece together the day for you like it was yesterday.”It’s amazing how much of this scattered,” said Pratt.The crew was out on a training mission that day to see how low the B52 could fly when they hit turbulence.”Lost all control of the plane and within ten seconds the plane was gone. It was down,” said Pratt.Ever since Pratt first visited the crash site with his snowmobile club, he has dedicated his years to recovering it.”I’m not military, but my family is and I honor the military,” said Pratt.And on a warm May day, he got about 2,200 feet closer to doing so when a seat belonging to one of the crewmen who ejected was reclaimed on the mountain.It was discovered by ranger Bruce Reed of the Maine Forest Service during a hunting trip last fall.”It was just luck. I thought it was part of the wreckage. I didn’t know it was a seat until I got closer,” said Reed.It’s the only seat Pratt was missing, as the other two have already been found.”It was kind of eerie to be honest with you,” said Reed.Reed and a team of rangers carried it down the mountain to put it in place at a museum where Pratt hopes it will help keep a piece of history intact.”It gives credit to our military,” said Pratt. Beginning in June, the seat will be on display at the Center for Moosehead History located at 6 Lakeview Street in Greenville.