Mystery of Vermont Plane Crash Solved After 53 Years by Underwater Drone
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Mystery of Vermont Plane Crash Solved After 53 Years by Underwater Drone

Five families finally received closure on the 53-year-old mystery of the disappearance of a private jet carrying five persons in New England thanks to the use of an underwater drone.

The answers were found in a discovery made 200 feet underneath Lake Champlain in Vermont. On May 25, 2024, a high-resolution camera attached to a drone captured spectral pictures of a wrecked aircraft covered in 53 years’ worth of marine life.

According to a press release from Garry Kozak, the person who spearheaded the effort, “the ROV was dropped to the lake floor and the real-time video transmitted to the surface showed a broken plane fuselage, painted white with a red and black accent striping, the same custom paint scheme as N400CP,” which alludes to the tail number of the missing aircraft.

“Nearby were the remains of two turbine jet engines along with broken wing structure,” the release continued. “A section of the instrument panel was located along with wire bundles from the cockpit area. The video and pictures left zero doubt that N400CP had finally been located, and a 53-year-old mystery solved.”

The 10-seat, twin-engine 1121 Jet Commander, which killed five men, has not been seen by the public for decades. At last, Kozak located the corporate jet of Cousins Properties, which was based in Atlanta.

Similar equipment was utilized by the underwater search specialist in an attempt to find the missing Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft, which vanished over the Indian Ocean in 2014 shortly after it took off from Kuala Lumpur.

Recently, he learned from his acquaintance who is an archaeologist and historian that there were reports of a missing private plane from the 1980s that sat at the bottom of Lake Champlain. He became engrossed in the story and ultimately looked into the location.

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Mystery of Vermont Plane Crash Solved After 53 Years by Underwater Drone

A jet vanishes from the airfield in Vermont

When a corporate jet vanished at 7:52 p.m. on January 27, 1971, after taking off from Burlington, Vermont, the mystery began. Though investigators were later informed that weather was not a big problem, the weather included light snow, a sharp wind, and a wind chill of -45 degrees.

This particular flight would mark the final flight for co-pilot Donald Myers, 33, who was operating the executive jet. Two weeks later, the father of two was supposed to begin working for Delta Air Lines, according to the local media.

Investigators were told by the air traffic controller at Burlington Tower that he could recall approving the pilot’s left turn after takeoff.

According to a 2017 Burlington Free Press story, he kept an eye on the radar, and in four minutes the jet was over the middle of the lake.

The controller reported hearing what appeared to be a brief transmission to the tower from what sounded like an open microphone, followed by nothing. The subsequent radar scan revealed no aircraft. Witnesses reported hearing a bang and seeing a “bluish flash” near mid-lake.

The following morning, searchers ventured out to try to find what they believed to be wreckage.

Not until the April thaw did any proof turn up. The article said that a tire with significant damage, a hatch door, an arm rest, an oxygen tank, foam from seat cushions, and fragments of carpet washed up on the lakeshore.

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Kozak begins his investigation

With the most recent attempt to locate the plane having failed, Kozak was unable to handle the mystery surrounding the 1971 crash in 2014. In 1997, he obtained poor resolution Side Scan Sonar data taken from the lake. At last, during the 2023 winter, he saw something strange. Then, on May 19, he put together a team to use sophisticated side scan radar to search once more.

Because “it is a graveside of 5 people,” Kozak claimed he simply shot images and videos of the wreck site without intruding. Out of decency, he also consented to keep the location private.


With more than two years of expertise in news and analysis, Eileen Stewart is a seasoned reporter. Eileen is a respected voice in this field, well-known for her sharp reporting and insightful analysis. Her writing covers a wide range of subjects, from politics to culture and more.