Malaysia Airlines Mystery brings back memories of plane that cra - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Malaysia Airlines Mystery brings back memories of plane that crashed into Lake Michigan


The Missing Malaysia Airlines flight brings back memories of a different plane disaster for many in Michiana.  Northwest Airlines Flight 2501 crashed into Lake Michigan in 1950.  Debris, including blankets and luggage, was discovered in the water days later, but the wreckage has never been found.

An author in Michigan has made it her mission to find answers.  Valerie van Heest wrote a book on the search called "Fatal Crossing."

"The search for Flight 2501 has centered between Benton Harbor and South Haven," she says.  She talked to us via Skype from Grand Rapids, explaining why finding the missing plane has become a passion.  She says the plane's engines have to be somewhere at the bottom of the lake.

"Finding the wreckage might tell us whether there was an explosion or whether it had a high speed impact with the lake," she says.  Van Heest says the same holds true now in the case of  Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. 

Without the wreckage grieving family members may never know exactly what went wrong in either case.  "In 1950 the authorities gave up after five days.  We know now that's not going to happen with Malaysia.  The authorities will keep on top of that until we have some answers," she says. 

One big difference between then and now is that in 1950 families were certain the plane crashed into Lake Michigan after the debris was spotted by a fisherman near South Haven.

But this time, there is still no concrete physical evidence that the Malaysia Airlines flight crashed.  Van Heest says until they see the debris, family members will still hold out some hope no matter what officials tell them.

Van Heest plans to resume the search for Flight 2501 in Lake Michigan this spring.

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