Flight 349: Never-before-seen pix in '59 crash
While several newspaper photographers slipped up to the top of Bucks Elbow Mountain 50 years ago to photograph the rescue and recovery operation after Piedmont Airlines Flight 349 was discovered with a sole survivor 36 hours after it went down in fog, another photographer reached the scene and has revealed his photographs for the very first time.
Ed Roseberry, who would go on to fame as a leading chronicler of Charlottesville and University life in the 1960s, was there on the Mountain in 1959 with with his 4x5 Speed Graphic camera to capture images of survivor Ernest Philip "Phil" Bradley as Bradley was taken up the mountain in a stretcher. The images did not come easy.
Roseberry, then 34, had driven his new Vauxhall station wagon up the Skyline Drive on the morning of
Sunday, November 1, the day the plane's wreckage was discovered by a sharp-eyed Air Force man. After getting turned away from the dirt road connecting to Bucks Elbow, Roseberry snagged a ride with a television crew. Then, when he tried to pass the cordon to reach the scene, a National Guardsman issued a warning.
"He said, 'You can't go down there,'" recalls Roseberry. "We can shoot you."
"I said, 'Okay, I'm going, and I ran."
The result are these two never-before-published photographs of Bradley getting rescued. Roseberry regrets that he has a conflict Saturday that prevents him from attending the 50th anniversary ceremony at Mint Springs Valley Park, which will feature a talk by the survivor himself, at the granite monument Bradley donated a decade ago.
"I would love to be there because I have never met the man," says Roseberry. "The only time I saw him was when they were dragging him up the hill."
The 50th anniversary commemoration begins at 10am Saturday just past the entrance to the Park. Following the hour-long ceremony, Richmond-based hiker Bryce Allison will lead a six-mile round-trip trek to the crash site, which still holds much of the wreckage.