Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Capt. Lawrence J. Ritter....P47 crash of 1946

A picture of a P47

Cold Springs Camp

Long Shot of gate to road.

Close shot of gate to road

GPS location of site is: N 41 degrees 33.646 minutes

W 77 degrees 35.184 minutes

elevation 1804 ft. This is the center of the circle about 75 feet from crash site.

Plane crash location from Leetonia Road:

Take Cushman Road to Francias Leetonia Rd. from this point you will go 3.1 miles to the right on Francias Leetonia. About 100 yds past Cold Springs Camp (picture 1) on the right you will see a logging road gate that has fluorescent green paint on it. (Pictures 2 & 3) From this point you will go about 1.5 to 1.75 miles up to the end of the logging road. The first half a mile is between a 10-20% upgrade after that it is not too bad. At the turnaround at the end of the logging road at about eleven o’clock you will walk about 75’ to the crash site and memorial. The whole walk at a fair pace takes about forty minutes one way.

There isn’t a lot left of the wreckage, which has been pillaged by souvenir hunters. I took a picture of the twisted aluminum body still sitting at the site. Lee Anne said she heard the propeller to the plane was once hanging on a camp in Slate Run, a fact that needs further investigation.

Lee Anne stood in the crater made by the plane’s impact and you can see it is about as tall as she is and about 10 foot wide. The stone is very nice and the flag in good repair. I am going to check with the Boy Scout Troup that put the stone there and see if there is more information about Lawrence J Ritter’s family.

As I lay in the crater looking up through the trees I thought about the cold snowy day the P47 crashed into the hill. You can almost hear the sound of the engine as it became one with the mountain. I wondered if the pilot knew he was going down much before impact. Just from the looks of things I am certain he did not survive the impact. It took seven months before they found the plane and not much of the pilot remained. It was November so it was probably during deer hunting season when someone came across the wreckage. The site reminds you how quickly life can be taken. Captain Lawrence Ritter died at the age of 27, not a long time to spend on this earth.

I am continuing to look for more information about Captain Ritter his family and the accident. For now enjoy the pictures and for those of you capable of walking at least 4 miles go up and see the site. It is a bit of history so easily forgotten it seems few people in this area even know it exists. A great walk for memorial weekend!

Mountain Girl, Paula, logging out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hey i have and old newpaper with this story as the front page, if you interested