Valley News reporter Jared Pendak and photographer James M. Patterson accompanied a group that recently hiked to the crash site. They included the late pilot’s son, Jeff Rapsis, pictured above, who was 4 at the time of the crash in Etna on Oct. 25, 1968.
Jared’s and James’ story is here.
Our Facebook post promoting their story has evoked a lot of additional memories from people who remember the crash.
A few of the memories shared in the comments:
- Janet Lane Dunn: I remember being at a Friday night football game and the search helicopters flying over head.
- Chris Clement: I was 8. Seemed like every fire truck in the world went by my house in Etna that night.
- Dolores C. Struckhoff: My Dad, Don Crate, as the Fire Chief in ENFIELD, was one of the first responders as he led his crew up the mountain. He never shared much about what he saw but I do remember him saying that although he never served on a battle field he could only imagine this was as bad a scene. I know it shook him up enormously and he never forgot it. I’m not positive, but I suspect this accident led the Fire Department to raise funds for Enfield’s first ambulance. On the night of the crash I was attending a Halloween Party overnight at Lauren Merrill’s on George Hill. I was 14.
- Gabby Heckmann Currier: Our 4-H organization was having our awards night at the Enfield Elementary School that evening. Kathy Ford our leader lived and still lives on May St.
- Virginia Putnam: I was 10, living in Enfield. I remember responders coming to get gas at my parents gas station and the news flying back and forth. Back in those pre internet pre cell phone days that was how it got around. People would drive in tell us something and it would get passed on.