On Friday, September 18, 1970, a twin engine Cessna 337D was on a flight from the Westchester County Airport in White Plains to Glens Falls, New York, when a small fire apparently broke out in the cabin.
Witnesses said the pilot circled the lake once and appeared to be trying to land on the water. One wing tip touched the water. That forced the nose of the plane down and the craft immediately broke apart and sank in about 40 feet of water. Two men fishing nearby and several people from the Grove sped to the scene in small boats, but were unable to find survivors. They did manage to attach a grappling hook to part of the wreckage.
There is a myth that the plane wreckage remains on the bottom to this day. However, that is not true. The next day the Grove swimming float was fitted with a winch and a tripod and towed to the scene. Divers attached a hook to the tail section. The wreckage was towed to the beach where it was examined and removed. Parts of the wreckage scattered in 60 to 80 feet of water, but most of it was recovered by divers.
The bodies of the passengers were not recovered until the next day, Sunday, September 20th. They were 39 year old Vincent A. Nastasi of 135 Beverly Terrace, Yonkers, New York, and Jonel E. Jorgulesco of S.W. 13th Terrace, Miami, Florida.
Investigators later determined that a short circuit in a wire leading from a transformer in the rear of the plane to the front probably caused a small fire in the carpet of the cabin. That is what may have led the pilot to try an emergency landing on the lake. Witnesses speculated that the landing attempt may have failed because the pilot was trying to avoid hitting the fishing boat.
--Bill Littauer, President of The Lake Wononscopomuc Association