It’s been nearly 26 years since GP Express Flight 861 plowed into a fog-shrouded mountain at the southern tip of what was then Fort McClellan, becoming Anniston’s only modern-day commercial airplane crash. The plane carried four passengers and two pilots. Three people survived. Three others died in the Fort McClellan wilderness high above Camp Lee. The families of the survivors and those who perished continue to live with the brutal aftermath of what happened that rainy morning atop a small mountain in Anniston. This three-part series tells their stories.
Stanley Hill is where GP Express Flight 861 crashed June 8, 1992, at an elevation of about 1,800 feet just inside the southeastern boundary of what was then Fort McClellan. Nothing marks the crash site, no memorial to the three who died, no wreckage to photograph. Read the full story
Vernon Schuety, Peggy Yurk and Bill French were strangers, fate and flight schedules among their few commonalities. Schuety, 29, was a pilot. Yurk, 42, and French, 40, were two of his passengers. But they and their families are forever linked by the crash of Flight 861. Read the full story
The pain never really subsides. It’s always there, all these years later, Dennis Lachut says, lingering and haunting. Pain in his back, migraines in his head, dreams in his fitful sleep. Time offers scant relief. He’s tried to forget, to heal. Read the full story
I’ve searched for Dennis Lachut for several years. He became my journalistic obsession. I knew he was a soldier, he’d been stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash., he was married and he’d survived a commuter plane crash in Anniston back in the summer of 1992. Read the full story