Lake Champlain, VT. – June 23, 1957

Lake Champlain, Vermont – June 23, 1957   

P2V Neptune
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On June 23, 1957, a U.S. Navy P2V Neptune was on a reserve training flight from Grosse Isle Naval Air Station, to Plattsburgh Air Force Base in Plattsburgh, New York.  It landed at Plattsburgh, at 2:30 p.m. and departed for Virginia thirty minutes later. 

     At 3:30 p.m., the pilot, Lt. (Jg.) Richard Schwaller, radioed Plattsburgh tower that he was having engine trouble and was returning to the base.  

     At 3: 37 p.m., one engine lost all power, and Lt. Schwaller was forced to make an emergency landing in Lake Champlain.  The aircraft hit the water about a half mile off shore from Shoreham, Vermont, where it struck a submerged sandbar and flipped onto its back snapping off the tail section.     

     The water on the lake was rough due to storm activity in the area, but fortunately all nine men aboard were able to escape the wreckage without injury before the fuselage sank in 12 to  18 feet of water.  

     The men were soon rescued by a passing yacht belonging to John L. Cooney, who owned a car dealership in Rutland, Vt.  Once ashore at Chipman Point, Vermont, the crew was brought by helicopter to Ethan Allen Air Force base in Burlington, Vermont.  


     Unknown Newspaper, “Pilot Ditches Big Plane In Lake; Nine Are Saved”, June 24, 1957

     Unknown Newspaper, “Navy Probing Bomber Crash”, Unknown Date.

     Unknown Newspaper, “Navy Will Try To Raise Bomber From Champlain” Unknown Date.


Charlotte, VT. – February 1, 1975

Charlotte, Vermont – February 21, 1975

     On February 21, 1975, a small plane with three Connecticut men aboard crashed upon landing on soft ice on Lake Champlain.  The accident occurred off Thompson’s Point in the town of Charlotte.  Their intent had been to go ice fishing.  Nobody aboard was hurt, and the three were able to walk to shore.   

     Providence Journal Bulletin, “3 Unhurt In Crash On Lake Ice”

West Addison, VT – February 18, 1993

West Addison, Vermont – February 18, 1993

On the ice of Lake Champlain

     On the afternoon of February 18, 1993, a Grumman Tiger aircraft took off from Morrisville-Stowe State Airport in Morristown, Vermont, with a lone pilot aboard, bound for Glens Falls, New York.  At 3:30 p.m. the aircraft crashed on the ice of Lake Champlain, about 3/4 of a mile from shore.  (The time was surmised from the plane’s broken dashboard clock.) The impact broke the plane into numerous pieces which were found scattered at the wreck site. The pilot was killed.

     A fisherman later reported seeing the aircraft circling over Lake Champlain, but never heard a crash.  

    No flight plan had been filed by the pilot, so he wasn’t missed when he failed to arrive at his destination, or when he failed to return to Vermont.  No May Day call had been received.  The plane was equipped with an emergency locator transmitter, however its signal wasn’t received until 2:30 a.m the following morning on February 19th.  The crash site was discovered by accident later that morning when two snowmobilers happened up on it at 10:30 a.m. 

    The cause of the crash was believed to be weather related.


     Flying Magazine, I Learned About Flying From That, “Don’t Blame The Engine“, By John T. Quinn, No. 691



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