BLOSSBURG – Friday marks the 50th anniversary of a tragic plane crash of flight 40 in Tioga County. Thirty four people were killed in the crash that day and it left quite the impact on the Blossburg area. Newswatch 16 there as community members and those who lost loved ones came back to honor those who passed away.
He may not know anyone in the crowd, but Donald Branson and his mother have a lot more in common with the group in Blossburg than they expected.
"I always thought it was just me and my mother that were affected now I see that it's affected a lot of people,” said Donald Branson.
A few months before Branson was born Branson’s father just 27 years old at the time boarded a flight in Elmira New York.
"He was a, he had a doctors degree in ceramic engineering. He was a professor," said Branson.
Flight 40 was headed to Washington D.C. it crashed somewhere in the hills near Blossburg. Branson was never able to meet his father. All 34 passengers on the plane died in the crash.
"I had a lot of bitterness for a long time," said Branson.
50 years later, loved ones and those who saw the plane go down are honoring those lives lost at a memorial service. Branson and his mother traveled from Texas.
"After this long it wasn't that difficult we really wanted to come,” said Marion Branson.
"I don't think anyone who was there will ever forget that day ever,” said John Eckman.
As a way to honor those who passed away folks here in Blossburg are also raising money to put up a memorial plaque somewhere in Island Park. They hope to have it up sometime later this year.
"I'm just so glad that they are able to have a plaque and someplace to go,” said Eckman.
"It's been a very enlightening and very comforting experience,” said Marion Branson.
As for Branson and his mother, they hope to be back here again. Now that officials plan to have the memorial for flight 40, up by this fall.