Searsburg, VT. – August 17, 1974

Searsburg, Vermont – August 17, 1974

     On August 17, 1974, a Beachcraft 35-A33 airplane, (#N385Z), left Lawrence, Massachusetts, bound for Cambridge, New York, and then on to Michigan.  There were four people aboard, a husband, wife, and their two teenaged children, 14, and 16.  The family was from Denison, Iowa. 

     In the vicinity of the New York border the husband, who was piloting the aircraft, reported they had encountered severe thunderstorms.  When no further communication was heard the plane was declared missing and a search was begun.   The search area included western Massachusetts, southern Vermont, and a portion of New York.  Despite all efforts, nothing was found.

     The plane was found by accident on May 24, 1976, on Searsburg Mountain located in the tiny southern Vermont town of Searsburg.      


     Providence Journal, “All Search resumes For Lost Plane”, August 26, 1974, page B-5  

     Ames Daily Tribune, (Iowa), “Denison Man, Plane Disappear”, August 21, 1974, page 11.  (Courtesy of Ames Public Library.)

     Ames Daily Tribune, (Iowa), “No trace Of Iowa Family, Lost Plane”, August 23, 1974, page 7.  (Courtesy of Ames Public Library.)

     Article, “History of Vermont Plane Crashes”, by Brian Linder, Burlington Free Press, November 20, 2014. 

     Aviation Safety Network

Dorset Mountain, VT. – April 15, 1974

Dorset Mountain, Vermont – April 15, 1974

     On April 15, 1974, a husband, his wife, and their two children took off from Glens Falls, New York, bound for Portland, Maine, in a brown and white Moody aircraft.  While in the vicinity of Danby, Vermont, they encountered poor weather conditions and crashed into the north slope of Dorset Mountain. 

     The wreckage was spotted from the air the following day and when state troopers arrived at the crash site they found no survivors.


     Providence Evening Bulletin, “4 Die In Vt. Air Crash”, April 16, 1974, page A-10

     Providence Journal, “”Four Found Dead In Vt. Plane Crash”, April 17, 1974, page 2

Proctorsville, VT. – June 4, 1973

Proctorsville, Vermont – June 4, 1973

     At 4:30 p.m. on the afternoon of June 4, 1973, two men from Huntington, New York, were injured when their twin-engine airplane crashed on takeoff from what was then called (in the press) Ludlow Airport in Proctortsville.  The men were taken to a hospital in Springfield for treatment.  The cause of the accident wasn’t stated.  

     Source: Providence Journal, “2 hurt On Takeoff”, June 5, 1973

Mt. Snow Airport, VT. – February 24, 1973

Mt. Snow Airport, Vermont – February 24, 1973

     On the morning of February 24, 1973, a light plane carrying a pilot and three young passengers crashed while landing at Mt. Snow Airport in West Dover, Vermont.  The 37-year-old pilot from New Jersey, and his 14-year-old son, both received serious injuries.  The other two passengers, both 12, sustained minor injuries.   

     Mt. Snow Airport is now known as Deerfield Valley Regional Airport.


     Providence Journal, “Four Injured In Mt. Snow Crash”, February 25, 1973, p6.

     Deerfield Valley Regional Airport website,

     Wikipedia – Deerfield Valley Regional Airport

Waterville Valley, VT. – March 19, 1966

Waterville Valley, Vermont – March 19, 1966


     On March 19, 1966, Melvin E. Seymour, 53, of Creston, Iowa, was piloting a Cessna 182 from Burlington, Vermont, to Portland, Maine, when he disappeared.   Despite an intensive search, nothing was found.  Then, in June of 1972, a hiker happened upon the wreckage of Mr. Seymour’s airplane with his remains still inside.  The aircraft was found near the 2,800 foot level of Jenkins Peak in Waterville Valley.    

     Mr. Seymour had served as a navy pilot during World War II.  He’s buried in Graceland Cemetery in Creston, Iowa. 


     Amsterdam Recorder, “CAP Hunts For Missing Plane In Vermont”, March 21, 1966

     Providence Journal, “Lost Plane Found After 6 Yrs.”, June 26, 1972

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Hiker Finds Plane Missing For 6 Years”, June 26, 1972, memorial #17459182

North Hero, VT – October 25, 1920

North Hero, Vermont – October 25, 1920


     At 4:30 p.m. on October 23, 1920, a race involving seven balloons left Birmingham, Alabama, all competing for the Gordon Bennett International Trophy For Free Balloons.  The declared winners were Belgian army lieutenants Ernest De Muyter, and Mathieu La Brousse, who sailed 1100 miles in their balloon, “Belgica”.

     After being in the air for 40 hours, De Muyter and La Brousse found themselves heading in a westerly direction away from upstate New York and out over Lake Champlain and towards Vermont.  While over the lake, the balloon began loosing altitude and dropped into the frigid water about a mile off the western shore of North Hero Island.  Neither man had a life preserver so they stayed with the balloon which was being pushed across the choppy water by strong winds. 

     The plight of the men was witnessed by Henry A. Hazen from his shoreline home, and he set out with a canoe to rescue them.  The winds were still pushing the balloon towards shore, so when Henry reached it, the men decided to stay with it, and before long it was in water shallow enough for them to wade the rest of the way.

     The men were brought into the Hazen household and offered warm blankets and refreshments.      


     The Barre Daily Times,(VT.), “Belgica Won Balloon Race”, October 26, 1920     

     The Barre Daily Times, (VT.), “Racing Balloon In Lake Champlain”, October 26, 1920

Rutland, VT. – September 6, 1916

Rutland, Vermont – September 6, 1916 

Rutland Fairgrounds

Balloon ascending with parachute attached to the side.

     On the afternoon of September 6, 1916, Samuel A. Libby, 38, was giving a balloon-parachute exhibition at the Rutland Fairgrounds.  Libby’s demonstration involved four parachutes, each to be used in succession of each other, thereby giving a more thrilling performance.  When the hot-air balloon had reached an altitude of 1,500 feet over the fairgrounds he cut away with the four parachutes.  As Libby made his descent, the first three chutes deployed properly, but the fourth failed to open and he was killed.

     His remains were reportedly sent to Oakland, Maine.  It was further mentioned that he was single, and had belonged to the Loyal Order of Moose.

     The day following the accident, a replacement for Libby was found.  18-year-old Freemont Ross of Rutland agreed to jump from the same balloon using a single parachute, which he did successfully.  It was noted that this was his first time in a balloon. 

Update, March 14, 2017

     According to The Bennington Evening Farmer, Mr. Libby was 44-years-old, and was survived by two sisters.  When his parachute failed to open, he reportedly landed on property located on Phillips Avenue.   


     Burlington Weekly Free Press, (Burlington, VT.), “Balloonist Fall; Meets His death At Rutland fair”, September 7, 1916 

     The Bennington Evening Farmer, (Bennington, VT.), “Parachute Jump At Rutland Was Fatal”, September 7, 1916

     The Bennington Evening Banner, (Bennington, VT.), “Boy Makes Balloon Ascent”, September 9, 1916

St. Johnsbury, VT. – September 11, 1914

St. Johnsbury, Vermont – September 11, 1914

Caledonia County Fair

     balloonOn September 11, 1914, the last day of Vermont’s annual Caledonia County Fair, a hot air balloon unexpectedly landed on the boardwalk in front of the grand stand where several persons happened to be standing.  Three ladies were injured when the balloon came down on top of them, the most serious being a 66 – year-old woman who suffered a scalp laceration and bruises to the face.  She was transported unconscious to Brightlook Hospital for treatment.  It was reported that she was expected to recover.   

     No further details were given.

     Source: The Bennington Evening Banner, “Accident At Caledonia Fair”, September 16, 1914

Updated October 6, 2016

     The accident occurred while Harold Cates of Boston was giving a parachute exhibition.  He’d ascended in the balloon alone, and at the proper altitude, jumped with his parachute, and landed safely on the field.  The unmanned balloon came down upon the boardwalk.   


     The Burlington Weekly Free Press, “2:24 Pace Is A Feature Of Fair At St. Johnsbury”, September 17, 1914     



Hyde Park, VT – July 4, 1873

Hyde Park, Vermont – July 4, 1873


    balloon On the afternoon of July 4, 1873, Professor Frank K. King, son of the famous aeronaut Samuel A. King, made a balloon ascension from the fair grounds near Morrisville, Vermont.  The balloon sailed away and was in the air for slightly more than an hour when it unexpectedly came down in a wilderness area somewhere near the town line between Eden and Hyde Park.   

     King climbed down from his balloon but had no idea of his exact location, or in which direction he should begin walking.  He set out on a course he hoped would bring him out of the woods, but after hiking for a good length of time found himself back at his balloon.   He spent two days and two nights in the woods without food or shelter before he met up with a search party that was looking for him.   

     Source: Orleans County Monitor, “Fourth Of July Balloon Ascension At Morrisville”, July 14, 1873.  

Updated January 25, 2017

     When King and his balloon were about two-and-a-half miles up he encountered a snow storm.  The snow and ice coated the balloon adding weight and forcing it down.  The number of searchers was said to be five hundred men. 

    Source:, The Somerset Herald, (Somerset PA.), “Balloon Adventure”, July 16, 1873   




Berlin, VT – November 25, 1965

Berlin, Vermont – November 25, 1965


     On the night of November 25, 1965, a single-engine Beech Bonanza with four people aboard was flying from Hartford, Connecticut, when it encountered bad weather and crashed in thick woods about one mile west of Barre-Montpelier Airport.  The aircraft wreckage was found three hours later in a deep ravine between Berlin Pond and an airport light beacon. 

     Witnesses reported that the plane had been circling the airport when it struck one of the light beacon towers.  It began to snow after the accident, which hindered search efforts. 

     All aboard were killed.  State police did not release the names of the victims, but only stated there were two men and two women aboard. 


     (Conn.) The Morning Record, “Four Perish In Air Crash In Vermont”, November 26, 1965

     UPI Article (Lodi CA.) Lodi News Sentinel, “Four Killed As Private Plane Falls In Storm”, November 26, 1965 

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