60 years after plane crash kills 26 people near Crozet, group pays respects, returns to wreckage

CROZET, Va. – Piedmont Flight 349 crashed into a mountain outside of Crozet 60 years ago Wednesday.

It killed 26 people.

A group of people commemorated the day by returning a wheel that was a piece of the landing gear to the site, where there are many pieces of the plane.

They attached the wheel to a larger, metal wheel which they rolled on the side of Bucks Elbow Mountain.

"It was a very emotional and stressful time for my family, not knowing if my uncle was alive or dead," said Dave Whetzel, whose uncle died in the crash.

Mark Cline, of Lexington, led the expedition -- and devised the system to get the wheel back to the wreckage.

"It needed to be done. It's a matter of paying respects and remembrance. These people shouldn't be forgotten," said Cline.

Once the group got to the site, they read aloud the names of the people who died in the crash.