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Modern Mysteries

Plane wreck could solve 50-year-old mystery

December 31, 2018 | Comment icon 7 comments



What caused Meyer's plane to crash ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Brocken Inaglory
The wreck of a WWII plane found in the English Channel could help to explain what happened to a US serviceman.
Back in 1969, US Air Force mechanic Sergeant Paul Meyer, who had been stationed at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, was deeply homesick and struggling with alcoholism.

On the night of May 22nd, after having been denied the chance to return to a USAF base in Virginia where he could see his family, he assumed the false name 'Capt Epstein' and headed to the hangar where he managed to take control of a Hercules transporter C-130.

Still inebriated and with limited knowledge of how to fly it, he took off in the hope of reaching his wife.

Within the space of 30 minutes however all contact was lost and neither he nor his plane were ever seen again. The question of whether he lost control of the plane or was shot down to prevent him crashing in to a populated area has endured for nearly 50 years.

Now though, after almost a decade of research and an extensive search of the Channel, professional diver Grahame Knott believes that he has finally located the final resting place of Meyer's plane.
In the spring, he hopes to dive down to the wreckage and take photographs from all angles so that he can build up a computerized 3D image of the crash site.

With any luck, air accident investigators will be able to tell from that what caused the plane to go down.

"We're story hunters who dive wrecks to satisfy our curiosity," said Knott. "It's not like a typical boat wreck - it's more like a sacred site, especially since Meyer's family are still alive."

The 50th anniversary of Meyer's disappearance will be on May 23rd, 2019.

With any luck, an answer to the mystery will have been found by then.

Source: BBC News | Comments (7)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by gary1701 4 years ago
Gents, C-130s must be older than I thought they were - WWII? There's still a few from the 60's operating, even within the USAF, but as the type first flew in the 50's I think WWII is stretching it a little. This accident has been doing the rounds in the aviation community for years, long before the recent upsurge in interest and there's long been vague rumours of it being shot down. As usual nothing concrete but a few ex-military guys have said that there was a alert on (which you would expect anyway) and fighters were sent after it. When ever they got to it or even of they did what action the... [More]
Comment icon #2 Posted by Farmer77 4 years ago
So I admit im off duty and slightly medicated so I may have missed it but where did you get anything about WWII from?
Comment icon #3 Posted by gary1701 4 years ago
Link at the top, first line in the text.   Gary
Comment icon #4 Posted by Not A Rockstar 4 years ago
yeah the title claims it but WW2 ended a decade or so earlier. edit to add: earlier than the C130 entered service,
Comment icon #5 Posted by Farmer77 4 years ago
I skipped right past that part thanks
Comment icon #6 Posted by HollyDolly 4 years ago
No military expert on planes but am not sure if they were around during WW2.So how could this have happend during WW2, when the article says irt took place in 1969.And what sort of a mechanic was he? My late father during WW2 was a flight crew cheif and an airplane mechanic before he was recruited for intelligence work when in Italy. If this guy worked on planes, i would think he wou;ld have some idea of how to fly them.
Comment icon #7 Posted by gary1701 4 years ago
Hi again, Sorry all, I was being a little bit playful in my first post on the subject. Of course C-130's were not around in World War 2, despite what that article suggests. Sgt Meyer 'stole' C-130E 63-7789 from a hardstand at Mildenhall on that night. That serial indicates that the aircraft was part of the 1963 fiscal order for aircraft for the USAF, and would have probably entered service in late 1963 or more likely 1964. To this day aircraft on the strength of the USAF and US Army (but not the Marines or Navy) incorporate the last two of the fiscal year the aircraft was ordered but not neces... [More]


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