The Mysterious Disappearance of NWA Flight 2501 and the Quest for Answers
By V. O. van Heest
“A terrific book! In-depth and intriguing.” – CLIVE CUSSLER
As a furious squall swept down Lake Michigan on June 23, 1950, a DC-4 with 58 souls on board flew from New York toward Minnesota. Minutes after midnight Captain Robert Lind requested a lower altitude as he began crossing the lake, but Air Traffic Control could not comply. That was the last communication with Northwest Airlines Flight 2501. Shredded human remains washing up on the beaches of West Michigan served as evidence of the country’s worst commercial aviation disaster. The Navy and Coast Guard never located the wreck, rendering it impossible to determine a cause for this tragic accident.
Over a half century later, nationally acclaimed author and explorer Clive Cussler of the National Underwater Marine Agency teamed up with the Michigan Shipwreck Research Association to pick up the search where the government left off and attempt to solve the mystery of the plane’s disappearance.
This gripping and suspenseful narrative begins as the team sets out upon its quest, an expedition fraught with disappointments and surprising discoveries as the explorers plow through archives and scour the lake bottom. An unexpected meeting with a victim’s son prompts a search of a different kind, one that would be more illuminating than submerged sections of twisted aluminum. Weaving past and present together through meticulous research and heart-rending interviews, V. O. van Heest paints a captivating portrait of the victims, vividly recreates the last few hours of Flight 2501, and reveals that the answers are sometimes found in unexpected places.
NONFICTION ISBN 978-098897721-1 | 6×9 format | 352 PAGES | 104 ILLUTRATIONS $19.95
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WIINER OF TWO SILVER MEDALS
“Fatal Crossing arrived yesterday. I read 165 pages yesterday afternoon. I usualy read 100 pages a day. Good book, Lots of detail. The author did a great job, especially to find out where each passenger was bound. For a non-pilot writer, this receives an A+ grade.”
– Jack O’Keefe, pilot.
Valerie van Heest is a principal in Lafferty van Heest and Associates Exhibit Design Firm, director of Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates (MSRA), and a member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame, who has explored, documented and interpreted shipwrecks for over twenty years. She is a recipient of multiple awards for the collection, preservation and promotion of state and local history through her interpretation, writing, filmmaking, and exhibit work. She has written several books and magazine articles and written and directed more than a dozen documentary films.. Her work has been featured in numerous books and articles as well. She is a regular presenter at museums, libraries, and film festivals, sharing the dramatic stories of ships (and an airplane) gone missing on the Great Lakes and has appeared on television news networks as well as on the History, Discovery, and Travel Channels. Valerie spearheads MSRA’s search for ships lost off western Michigan, which has resulted in the discovery of many new shipwrecks.
AWARDS AND HONORS
2017 Recipient of Joyce S. Hayward Award for Historic Interpretation from Association for Great Lakes Maritime History
2009 State History Award for the Exhibit “From Hennepin to the Thousand Footers” at the Heritage Museum and Cultural Center
2006 Induction into Women Divers Hall of Fame
2007 State History Award for the volunteer contributions to the Preservation of Michigan’s submerged maritime heritage