Hiking near the Great Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina, Sawyer Cannon, who lives in Charleston, South Carolina, filmed his trip and was able to capture footage of the surreal scene along the way. Among the quiet mountains, hikers can see what remains from the tragic day when a small Cessna 414A plane crashed in November 1983, killing everyone on board.
“I enjoy hiking, but I find Urbex way more exciting. The plane crashes are somewhat of a weird mix of the two,” Cannon told Newsweek. Urbex, or urban exploring, refers to seeking out unusual and abandoned places like abandoned mansions or a World War II fortress.
On an intermediate hike, the Waterrock Knob site appears through the quiet woods where airplane debris lays, including frayed cords and broken windows.
On Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1983, the Cessna 414A crashed on a mountain between Waynesville and Sylva. The pilot, Ernest Martin, was traveling with one passenger, Kreszentia “Centa” Eggar Jarrett. On the way to North Carolina to visit Jarrett’s children, Martin lost control of the plane due to a combination of challenging weather conditions and alleged intoxication.
Encountering stormy weather including clouds and rain, the flight plan was not filed despite aviation regulations requiring a flight plan when flying in bad weather.
A National Transportation Safety Board toxicology report revealed that Martin had a blood alcohol content of 0.04 percent, which is thought to have had the potential to impair performance and judgment. Both Martin and Jarrett died in the crash.
“It was kind of surreal going there and seeing the destruction of it all, knowing that two people were killed in the crash,” said Cannon.
The eerie atmosphere of the wreckage is a popular tourist destination and somewhere that Cannon recommends people visit—respectfully. But not everyone who stops by has the same reverence for the site itself.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people who have visited the site in the past few years have ripped it apart and painted graffiti all over it,” said Cannon. “It’s a little disappointing to see that. I’d say if anyone is going out to an abandoned place and finds themselves packing a can of spray paint in their backpack, they should just stay home instead.”
Among the comments after the video was posted on Reddit, other travelers shared their frustration at the way the site has been treated.
One Redditor wrote: “I hiked this a few years ago before it got popular. Unfortunately, people have really trashed the plane from what I’ve seen. When we went the doors were still attached and there was no graffiti.”
Another said: “Really sucks it’s been destroyed so badly… TikTok made it famous and people ruined it.”
Published: 2023-06-14 13:26:42