Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 2501

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Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 2501
Accident summary
DateJune 23, 1950 (1950-06-23)
TypeUnexplained disappearance
SiteLake Michigan
42°22′N 86°37′W / 42.367°N 86.617°W / 42.367; -86.617Coordinates: 42°22′N 86°37′W / 42.367°N 86.617°W / 42.367; -86.617
Passengers55
Crew3
Fatalities58 (all, presumed drowned)
Aircraft typeDouglas DC-4 (former C-54)
OperatorNorthwest Orient Airlines
RegistrationN95425 (ex 42-72165)
Flight originLaGuardia Airport,
New York, New York
1st stopoverMinneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
2nd stopoverSpokane, Washington
DestinationSeattle, Washington
 
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Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 2501
Accident summary
DateJune 23, 1950 (1950-06-23)
TypeUnexplained disappearance
SiteLake Michigan
42°22′N 86°37′W / 42.367°N 86.617°W / 42.367; -86.617Coordinates: 42°22′N 86°37′W / 42.367°N 86.617°W / 42.367; -86.617
Passengers55
Crew3
Fatalities58 (all, presumed drowned)
Aircraft typeDouglas DC-4 (former C-54)
OperatorNorthwest Orient Airlines
RegistrationN95425 (ex 42-72165)
Flight originLaGuardia Airport,
New York, New York
1st stopoverMinneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
2nd stopoverSpokane, Washington
DestinationSeattle, Washington

Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 2501 was a DC-4 propliner operating its daily transcontinental service between New York City and Seattle when it disappeared on the night of June 23, 1950. The flight was carrying 55 passengers and three crew members; the loss of all 58 on board made it the deadliest commercial airliner accident in American history at the time.[1]

The aircraft was at approximately 3,500 feet (1,100 m) over Lake Michigan, 18 miles (29 km) NNW of Benton Harbor, Michigan[2] when it vanished from radar screens after requesting a descent to 2,500 feet (760 m). A widespread search was commenced including using sonar and dragging the bottom of Lake Michigan with trawlers, but to no avail. Considerable light debris, upholstery, and human body fragments were found floating on the surface, but divers were unable to locate the plane's wreckage.[3]

Contents

Cause

There were many theories as to what caused the plane to vanish from the radar. It is known that Flight 2501 was entering a squall line and turbulence, but since the plane's wreckage was not found, the cause of the crash was never discovered.[3]

Families lost

Two families were lost in the accident. The largest family group was the Hokansons — John, his wife, Kay, their seven-year-old daughter Janice, and their four-year-old son Thomas. The other family was the William H. Frengs. Mr. Freng, a lawyer and vice president of the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation, was accompanied by his wife, Rosa, and their daughter Barbara, 18.

Aftermath

The missing airliner is the subject of an annual search by Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates, a Michigan-based non-profit organization. The search is funded by author Clive Cussler.

In September 2008, a researcher investigating the crash of Flight 2501 found an unmarked grave that she believes contains the remains of some of the 58 victims. Valerie van Heest says human remains from the June 1950 crash into Lake Michigan washed ashore and were buried in a mass grave. She claims they were buried in a St. Joseph-area cemetery without the knowledge of the victims' families, and the grave was never marked.[4]

See also

References

External links