Discovery Channel’s Expeditions Unknown

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — A piece of Lake Michigan history will take center stage on the Discovery Channel next week.

The network’s show, “Expedition Unknown,” will feature a 90-minute episode focusing on the search for the remains of a Northwest Airlines DC-4 flight 2501 that crashed into Lake Michigan, off the shores of West Michigan, on June 24, 1950.

58 people aboard the plane died.

“This is one of the enduring aviation mysteries in this country, and it happened off the shores of West Michigan, and this program will shed some light on that accident that many people don’t know about,” said Valerie van Heest, co-director of the Holland-based Michigan Shipwreck Association.

The 3-hour long segment is scheduled to air from 8 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Feb. 12, 2020.

Lake Michigan plane crash 1950

Van Heest, along with her husband, Jack, appear on the episode, which was filmed over a one-week period in August.

She said the episode was shot on Lake Michigan, near South Haven, as well as the Grand Rapids office of the National Weather Service.

The Northwest Airlines DC-4 airliner likely crashed because of bad weather, but the exact cause of the accident remains a mystery, said van Heest.

She said she and her colleagues have been searching for the plane’s wreckage for several weeks each spring for about 15 years but have not yet located the structure.

Lake Michigan plane crash 1950

The plane’s pilot, prior to the crash, said his location was in the “vicinity” of Benton Harbor. Finding the wreckage could help shed more light on the crash, van Heest said.

“Finding the wreckage on the bottom will tell us what happened, it might tell us what the pilot might have been trained to do that night, it might shed light on whether this was a lightning strike or a microburst or a high-speed stall,” she said.

In addition to airing on the Discovery Channel, the Michigan Shipwreck Research Association will show a behind the scenes segment detailing the filming of the program at its shipwreck film festival on Saturday, March 21.

Discovery Channel’s Expeditions Unknown

Lake Michigan plane crash 1950

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