Authorities in Michigan said the wreckage of a plane, found near St. Ignace on Thursday, belonged to a couple that vanished in 1997.
Family members and friends hadn’t known what had happened to Mark and Janet Davies since that time.
The couple was flying home to Howell, approximately 300 miles, in a small plane from Drummond Island in Lake Huron when they disappeared.
Mark Davies was flying but was an inexperienced pilot and Janet Davies’ brother Michael Smith told Up North Live that he wouldn’t fly with Mark.
A radar spotted the plane flying south when it suddenly turned around and vanished.
“Pretty much everyone had given up hope that they’d be found in our lifetimes,” Smith said. “I know it bothered my parents. It really bothered my mother. She died two years ago.”
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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced the investigation after the wreckage was found in a remote part of St. Ignace, about 70 miles west of Drummond Island, where the couple first took off.
Ted Sarrach told Fox 2 that it’s the first evidence anyone found despite a widespread search after the disappearance.
“They formed a search party a couple weekends of teachers, police, anybody that wanted to go. It was a mystery—nothing. Nothing was floated in Lake Huron,” he said.
“They didn’t find anything—for 21 years they found nothing.”
The board said that Mark Davies likely experienced vertigo due to the foggy weather at the time.
Michigan Civil Air Patrol Lt. Col. Tom Dickinson said at the time that due to Mark Davies not having filed a flight plan, the search was “like trying to find a needle in a haystack.”
Now, reported the Detroit Free Press, officials are working on a plan to get the wreckage out.
“We are currently assessing the location of the wreckage and the logistics necessary to respond and investigate,” NTSB Spokesman Eric Weiss said.
“It is in Hiawatha National Forest, in a pretty remote area. It’s a situation where the investigator can’t just go to the scene, the wreckage has to be removed to an area where we can review and look at it.”