Discovery Channel Show To Study Lake Michigan Plane Crash

A plane crash into Lake Michigan nearly 70 years ago will be the subject of the Discovery Channel’s Expedition Unknown show this coming Wednesday. Northwest Airlines Flight 2501 disappeared somewhere over the lake on June 23, 1950. The Michigan Shipwreck Research Association’s Valerie van Heest tells WSJM News material from the crash started washing up from Benton Harbor to Glenn.

“This was just before the Fourth of July holiday, and people were coming to the beaches,” van Heest said. “In addition to airplane debris, aluminum and wood and suitcases and seat cushions, among all of that were human remains.”

The plane was never found. The Michigan Shipwreck Research Association has been looking for it for 15 years, having covered 600 square miles. Expedition Unknown host Josh Gates reached out to van Heest when he learned about the flight, and he came to southwest Michigan last summer to take part in a search.

“We’re actually working much closer now to Benton Harbor. We’ve sort of searched everywhere else and ruled it out, and we’ll have to wait to see Wednesday what we might find. Suffice it to say, if you’ve ever watched the show, they always find something.”

Flight 2501 had 58 people on board, and van Heest says it’s one of just three commercial airline flights to have crashed into the Great Lakes. The other two were quickly found. That show on the search for the wreckage will air on Wednesday at 8 p.m. on the Discovery Channel.