Author V. O. van Heest is available to deliver programs, television or radio interviews, and do book signings. Please contact her publisher at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appearance.
From the desk of author and explorer V. O. Van Heest:
I did not set out to host a web site or write a book about the loss of Flight 2501. Rather, I intended to help with research into the plane’s crash only to find information that might lead our joint-venture NUMA/MSRA search team to the one spot somewhere on the bottom of Lake Michigan where the wreckage of Northwest Flight 2501 still lies.
Then in 2006 everything changed for me. I heard from the grandson of one of the victims. Very shortly thereafter, I started a search of a different kind—to find out about the people lost with Flight 2501. They were long dead, of course, but through their spouses, children, grandchildren, and others, I could get to know them. Tracking down those many people took me the better part of four years and the task is still not complete. Even though more than a half-century has passed, I discovered that literally hundreds of people still exist who have a personal connection to the individuals lost in this accident. In talking to them, I realized that they were still seeking a reason to explain why their lives were turned upside down and inside out in that one moment, minutes after midnight on Saturday, June 24, 1950.
After many in-person meetings, emails, and telephone calls with these family members discussing this heart wrenching topic, I realized that what began as a joint-venture challenge to solve an historical mystery would be infinitely more significant to these relatives. I created this web site to serve as a memorial to them and to make sure the accident and these people are never forgotten. I also came to realize that I had an obligation to write a book. However, the failure to find the wreck of Flight 2501, which I felt necessary to writing a book, along with success in locating several shipwrecks, drew me away from that plan. Between 2007 and 2012, I wrote five other books on fascinating Lake Michigan shipwrecks, designed several museum exhibits, and kept a full schedule of speaking engagements at conferences, libraries, historical societies, and schools. Then, in 2012, I learned that the daughter of one woman who died on the plane had herself died, and I realized that even though we had not found the wreckage, the time had come to finally complete this book before others connected to the crash might pass. Sadly, I could not write fast enough. In the ten years since I began this quest, many of the people I interviewed have since joined the victims of Flight 2501.
I welcome contact from anyone connected with this tragedy, whether family, witnesses, aviation experts, officials, or other interested people. In particular I am still seeking the families of the following victims with whom I have not yet had any contact:
Miriam Frankel (thank you to the family for reaching out in 2015)
Adelaide and John Schafer
Please contact me at 616-566-6009 or email valerie @ michiganshipwrecks.org