After 53 Years, The Wreckage of 1971 GEORGIA JET DISCOVERED in Vermont Lake

Image by:

Approximately fifty-three years have passed since the disappearance of a private aircraft carrying five men on a snowy Vermont night. According to experts, the wreckage of the long-lost jet has been discovered in Lake Champlain.

On January 27, 1971, the corporate aircraft vanished shortly after it departed the Burlington airport for Providence, Rhode Island. Two crew members and three employees of Cousins Properties, a Georgia-based development company, were aboard the vessel. They were engaged in a development endeavor in Burlington.

The 10-seat Jet Commander was not located during the initial search, and the lake was frozen for more than four days following the plane’s disappearance. Before the wreckage of a jet with the same custom paint scheme was discovered in the lake near the location where the radio control tower had last tracked the plane before it vanished, at least 17 other searches were conducted. This discovery was made last month by underwater searcher Garry Kozak and a crew using a remotely operated vehicle. The wreck was discovered in 200 feet (60 meters) of water near Juniper Island, and sonar images were captured.

Kozak stated on Monday, “We are 99% certain with all of that evidence.”

He stated that the wreckage’s discovery provided the families of the victims with “some closure” and addresses many of the concerns they had.

Although relatives are grateful and relieved that the plane has been located, the discovery also reopens old wounds and raises additional concerns.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Barbara Nikitas, the niece of pilot George Nikita, expressed conflicting emotions: “It is a very sad feeling to have this found now, but it is also a peaceful feeling.” “We are aware of the events that transpired.” We have observed a few photographs. I believe we are currently experiencing difficulty with that.

Also, Frank Wilder, Frank Wilder’s father, was a passenger on the aircraft.

“It was distressing to spend 53 years without knowing whether the plane was in the lake or on a mountainside in the vicinity,” stated Wilder, who resides outside of Philadelphia. “I am once again feeling relieved that I am aware of the plane’s current location; however, this has raised additional inquiries that we must address at this time.”

Kozak reports that debris from the aircraft was discovered on Shelburne Point during the spring of 1971, when the ice melted. The wreckage was not located during an underwater investigation in May 1971. Kozak reports that at least 17 additional inspections were conducted, including one in 2014. In the aftermath of the Malaysia Airlines plane disappearance that year, authorities were motivated by fascination in the expectation that new technology would locate the wreckage. However, this was not the case.

The recent search efforts were spearheaded by Barbara Nikitas, who resides in southern California, and her cousin Kristina Nikita Coffey, who is the daughter of George Nikita and resides in Tennessee. They also contacted the relatives of other victims.

Charles Williams, whose father, Robert Ransom Williams III, was an employee of Cousins Properties, was on the plane, and found the reunion to be fascinating. “Everyone had a piece of the puzzle and the pie, and when we began sharing information and documents, we gained a much greater understanding and perspective of the information, how we were all impacted,” he explained.

He referred to Kozak as a hero for his unwavering commitment to locating the aircraft. Kozak became intrigued after the 2014 search was unsuccessful and explored a sonar survey of the lake conducted by the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and Middlebury College. He discovered four anomalies on the lake floor. Kozak stated that in 2022, Hans Hug, a colleague at Sonar Search and Recovery in Exeter, New Hampshire, and his companion, who possesses a ROV, expressed their desire to locate the aircraft. The crew discovered a plane; however, it was discovered to be a military aircraft. Kozak conducted an additional sonar survey last winter and identified an additional anomaly. The team determined that the anomaly was most likely the plane wreckage last month.

Williams stated that the National Transportation Safety Board is conducting an investigation to determine whether the aircraft in question is the one in question. Williams stated that salvage operations are not conducted by the NTSB due to their high cost as per 11alive.

“Whether there are tangible remains, and I regret to say that, that is worth disturbing, is a decision that we will have to make at a later time, and it is a component of the unpacking process,” he stated. “It is difficult to contemplate that.”

The relatives of the victims intend to organize a memorial ceremony now that they have determined the plane’s location.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.