I recall as a child my mother telling me about the crash of Northeast Airlines Flight 285 in the Apponagansett Swamp, about 4,000 feet short of the runway at the New Bedford Regional Airport.

It was a scheduled domestic passenger flight from Boston Logan International Airport to New York's Laguardia Airport. Flight 285 had stops in Hyannis, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard and New Bedford. 

Delayed by poor weather conditions, Flight 285 was about 50 minutes behind schedule when it approached New Bedford Regional Airport around 8:45 p.m. on the night of September 15, 1957.

It never made it.

WFHN-FM/FUN 107 logo
Get our free mobile app

The Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission determined the most likely cause of the crash of the Douglas DC-3 was a "loss of visual reference during the final visual phase of an instrument approach, due to weather conditions."

The plane struck trees and broke apart as it hit the ground. There were 12 fatalities, including the pilot, co-pilot and a stewardess. There were 12 survivors.

The plane crashed deep into the swamp, making it difficult for rescuers to reach the wreckage. A call went out in the community for volunteers to assist. Dozens of men, including my father and several uncles, answered the call. Human chains using fire ladders were used to bring victims of the crash out of the swamp that night.

Members of the local clergy did their part to help.

Actions Of Heroic Priests After 1957 New Bedford Plane Crash
Google Maps

The Catholic Standard and Times of Philadelphia reported on September 27, 1957, "More than a dozen Catholic priests from this city rushed to the scene of a plane crash near here to minister to the dead and injured."

The publication reported, "The priests made their way into an almost inaccessible swamp where a Northeast Airlines DC-3 with 24 persons aboard went down."

"In order to reach the crash scene, a clearing had to be made at the edge of the swamp and many of the clergy pitched in to help clear the heavy brush," according to the Standard and Times

The report said, "Several priests managed to reach the plane itself, which was separated from the rescue station by water."

The names of the heroic priests were not included in the article.

Offbeat adventures: Travel to the coolest hidden wonders in every U.S. state

Fuel your offbeat travel dreams. Stacker found the coolest hidden wonders in all 50 U.S. states (plus D.C.) using data from Atlas Obscura.

[WARNING: Under no circumstances should you enter private or abandoned property. By doing so you risk bodily harm and/or prosecution for trespassing.]

Gallery Credit: Sandi Hemmerlein

LOOK: Stunning, historic hotels from every state and the stories behind them

Stacker curated this list of stunning, historic hotels from every state. To be considered for inclusion, the structure must be more than 50 years old. Many of the selected hotels are listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and several are purported to be haunted.

Gallery Credit: Erin Joslyn

More From WFHN-FM/FUN 107