Dorchester, N.H. – December 24, 1996

Dorchester, New Hampshire – December 24, 1996

     On the morning of December 24, 1996, a Learjet 35-A  (N388LS) was in-route from Bridgeport, Connecticut, to Lebanon Municipal Airport in New Hampshire with two men in their 30s aboard.  As the aircraft was making its approach to the airport the pilot aborted the landing and circled around for a second try.  Shortly afterward all contact was lost and the plane vanished.  There had been no distress call.

     What came next was the longest search for a missing aircraft in the state’s history, lasting nearly three years.  It was assumed the plane had crashed, and thousands of volunteers turned out to search, but nothing was found.  (The aircraft did not have an emergency locator transmitter aboard.)  Dedicated volunteers continued to scour the wilderness long after the search had officially been called off. 

     The Learjet’s wreckage was finally located near Smarts Mountain on November 13, 1999, roughly 20 miles from the airport.  The plane had disintegrated on impact spreading debris over a large area which was one reason it was so hard to locate.  


     Baltimore Sun, “Mystery Of Learjet Finally Reveals Itself”, December 12, 1999, By Ernest Imhoff.

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