Sunday, October 16, 2011

Plane Crash on Moon Mountain - Update

In my blog entries of April 29, May 30 and June 1, I reported on research I have been doing concerning the crash of a military training aircraft on Moon Mountain in the Bramley Mountain region of Bovina in April 1945.  On September 25 and October 14, I made two more trips up to the site where we think the crash happened.  The September 25th trek included Don Farley, who owns the land where the site is located; Chris Ingvordsen, who is making a film about the accident and my research into it; and Steve Burnett, who started this whole thing rolling by asking about it back in April.  Along with the four of us were two people who saw the site not long after the accident - my Uncle George LaFever and his friend Ray Kearns.  Ray's grandfather was the owner of the property at the time of the crash.  Thanks to Don and his 'mule' we were able to drive them up to the site.  Ray was able to pinpoint roughly where the fuselage came to rest.  With this key bit of new information, along with George's description of where he could still see the debris field in 1963, we now think we can identify the line of the debris field. 

Chris, Steve, George (half hidden), Ray and Don on Moon Mountain
Ray, George and Steve

Chris and Ray
Shortly after the September trek, Ray Kearns expressed concern as to whether or not that was the right cave.  On a trek I made with Chris on October 14, we agree that the cave may not be the right one.  The elevation of the cave is too high by about 200 feet.  We worked our way back down from the cave site, noting an area of rock ledges as a promising place for a future trek.  There was brief excitement when we found some metal, but turns out it was a collapsed metal tree stand, used for hunting.  

Thanks to Don for providing the transport and to George and Ray for making the trek to the crash site in September.  And thanks to Chris for his continuing interest. Stay tuned for further developments.

Note:  1) This entry was mostly written right after the September trek and I thought I had posted it that day.  I only discovered this week that it never made it on-line, so I updated it a bit before posting to reflect the second trek.  2) In studying old and new maps of the Moon Mountain area, it appears that the town lines have shifted a bit over time.  The peak of Moon Mountain, once in Delhi, now appears to be in Kortright.  It also means that at least some parts of the crash site that were considered to be in Bovina in 1945 are probably now part of Delhi.  Not a big deal, but interesting to see how the lines have shifted.

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