Published May 22, 2012
GREENVILLE, MAINE – A Maine forest ranger stumbled upon an "eerie" find while hunting -- an ejection seat that has been identified as from a B-52 bomber that crashed nearly 50 years ago.
The B-52 Stratofortress-C crash is infamous -- seven U.S. Air Force airmen were killed. The seat most likely helped save either the pilot or navigator, officials said.
The Maine Forest Service said Tuesday that ranger Bruce Reed found the seat on an overgrown logging road while hunting last fall on Elephant Mountain near Greenville. Reed returned to the site Saturday to take photos and record identification numbers to confirm it came from the B-52.
"I had a pretty good idea of what it was, and it was kind of eerie finding something like this in the middle of the wilderness, knowing what happened almost 50 years ago," Reed said in a statement.
The Maine Department of Conservation reported that the only apparent visible damage to the seat was on the head rest.
A recovery team plans to retrieve the seat on Thursday.
The seat will be made part of a permanent memorial Reed and members of the Moosehead Rider’s Snowmobile Club are creating in honor of the crewmen, the Bangor Daily News reported.
The unarmed B-52 went down Jan. 24, 1963, while on a training mission out of Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts. Three crew members had time to eject, while six others were killed in the crash and one when his parachute hit a tree. A structural problem was later determined to have caused the crash.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.