Cemetery Repairs Needed after Butte Plane Crash

By Beacon Staff

BUTTE – Crews have been able to locate all the headstones disturbed when an airplane crashed into Holy Cross Cemetery, killing all 14 people on board.

The Diocese of Helena said 15 headstones were damaged by the crash last Sunday, while another six were blackened by fire. The headstones, mostly from burials in 1954 and 1955, will be repaired, cleaned or replaced, said Bernie Brophy of Butte Granite Works.

One of the headstones had been moved about 100 feet, Brophy said.

“It will be a process that goes into the summer to replace them all one-by-one,” he said.

Work is scheduled to begin Monday to remove a 6-inch layer of soil contaminated by jet fuel in about a 50- by 180-foot area of the cemetery.

Patrick Thomson, senior hydrologist with Water & Environmental Technologies in Butte, said once the initial layer of soil is removed, the ground will be tested. Additional soil will be removed as needed. The site will then be filled with clean dirt.

The impact site of the plane was about a foot deep and has been filled.

The, carrying three young families from California to a Montana ski vacation, crashed near the Butte airport. Seven of the victims were children. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

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