Thursday, 28 May 2015

Searching for Plane Crash Relics

This past Monday myself and local journalist, Gary Hebbard, spent the afternoon scouring the property where, in 1946, a decorated military pilot crashed his plane into the Stack's family home in Outer Cove. 

The light blue house in the forefront of this photograph is the Stack house in present day. Photograph by Gary Hebbard.

It was a beautiful afternoon; sunny and warm, with a cool breeze coming from the ocean. The property is right on the waterfront, an absolutely perfect location overlooking the beach. We used a metal detector to scan the premises for any signs of aluminium, and other metals. For anyone who has even searched an area using a metal detector, you'll know what I mean when I say the process is both grueling and thrilling all at the same time. We sectioned off the area, working from the front to the back, as we thought if there were any remains of the plane, they would be around where the fence once stood. You see, the plane first hit the house, then slid across the lawn, through the fence, and off the cliff into the icy Newfoundland waters. As it hit the fence, more pieces would have fallen from the wreckage of the plane. 

Any remains of the plane would have been thoroughly collected by the military at the time of the crash, for evidence purposes, as the cause of the crash was unknown to them. We knew this as we began the process, hoping to find a small piece of aluminium that had been missed in this collection, and overgrown from years of neglect. 

Gary scanning the Stack property using a metal detector. Photograph by Katie Harvey,

Walking along, listening intently for that beep, beep, beep. Each time the metal detector picked up a reading greater than 60, Gary got down on his knees, cut a small square hole in the ground, and we looked for anything that may have been a part of that plane. Each time I heard the beeping of the detector, my heartbeat accelerated just a little. 

Gary testing a small patch of the yard for aluminium. Photograph by Katie Harvey.

Suddenly, the metal detector displayed a strong reading. The stronger the reading, the higher the pitch of the beeping. We both heard it, and I could again hear my heart in my ears; thump, thump, thump. Gary got down on his knees and cut a small hole in the fragile earth. Digging through the dirt, I expected something amazing to appear. And then, we found it. A minuscule fragment of wire was pulled out of the ground. I was amazed by what this metal detector could pick up. Now, this wire could have very well been wire that was a part of the plane, however we have no way of knowing for sure, and it didn't seem like a very exciting artifact to display for the museum's new exhibit about the crash.

We called it a day after two hours of scanning, kneeling, and digging. Unfortunately, we did not find what we wanted, but we plan to head out on location once again to continue the search.

Stay tuned for more updates on the exhibit I am planning. If you have any information, photographs or relics from this event, please contact Katie at lbmcocmuseum(at) or 726-5272. I would love to hear from you, as I am collecting personal memories from people who were present the day of the crash.

                                                                                      -Katie Harvey

If you would like more information on the Outer Cove plane crash copy and paste the links below for a two part article written by Gary Hebbard:,-boom,-fire/1


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