PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) - On the last day of January in 1956, a B-25 bomber crashed into the Monongahela River near what is now the Homestead Grays Bridge. Ever since, it has been one of the great mysteries of Pittsburgh. Some think it is still down there, while others think it was taken away by the government or CIA.
A group called the B-25 Recovery Group has applied for a permit to dredge the Mon to find the remains of the plane. Andy Masich, president and CEO of the Heinz History Center, believes it is still submerged, and he joined the KDKA Morning News to talk about it.
"It is one of Pittsburgh's most enduring mysteries," Masich said. "I do believe that remains of the B-25 are still there in the Mon."
The group is looking for a dredging permit from the Army Corps of Engineers for a 200-foot section of the river that is near Hays.
"When the plane came silently over the bridge because its engines had cut out after it ran out of gas, the pilot did a perfect wheels up landing right between the Glenwood Bridge and the Homestead (Grays) Bridge," Masich said."And then, it floated for 11 minutes down river to the point about where the (B-25 Recovery Group) wants to dredge."
The plane then sank under the water.
"The crew members who were out on the wings jumped off," Masich said. "Some of them were rescued. Some of them, unfortunately, drowned and were found in the following days down river."
Masich says the reason the plane crashed was because it ran out of gas.
"They didn't fill up with gas when they should have. Because it was raining and cold and there was a line at the gas station at their last stop," he said.
An attempt was made to recover the plane the day after the crash but Masich says it was unsuccessful and the B-25 sank back into the river. People couldn't find the plane after that.
"So, all kinds of talk began about whether the government came in at night when nobody was watching and got it because it could have had atomic weapons on board," he said.
The B-25 group hopes they get the permit so they can attempt to solve the more than 50-year-old mystery.
For more information on Pittsburgh's past, visit www.heinzhistorycenter.org.
Heinz History Center's Andy Masich
Listen to the KDKA Morning News with Larry Richert and John Shumway weekdays from 5 to 9 a.m. on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA.
for more features.