Family finds answers 59 years after Canadian naval pilot crashes off coast of Florida
Published Sunday, October 1, 2017 5:26PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, October 1, 2017 7:36PM EDT
When Lt. Barry Troy's jet vanished off the coast of Florida just minutes after taking off from the HMCS Bonaventure on February 25th 1958 his family thought there was still hope.
After two weeks of searching, the only evidence the U.S. Navy could find of a crash was a helmet, log book and a few small piece of metal. Since that crash, Lt. Troy's family has experienced grief, heartbreak and a quest for answers about that final flight.
Nearly sixty years later the family received a call from a reporter in Florida telling them rangers at Hanna Park had made a historic discovery.
"It just brought home all the emotions back to the surface, living through that again and thinking about how it must have been for him in those final moments," said Sandra Berry, Troy's younger sister.
29-year-old Barry Troy was born in New Brunswick but based in Nova Scotia with the 871 Squadron. He was flying an F2H-3 Banshee jet for the Royal Canadian Navy when his aircraft was considered overdue near Mayport Beach, Florida.
Last week, a park ranger discovered parachute rigging, a harness, unidentified pieces of metal and a parachute harness embroidered with the markings "Lt. (P) Troy" on the beach.
"We happened to find this ball of stuff on the high water line. I know I drove past it at least five times. Other rangers said they drove past it, too," ranger Zack Johnson told News4JAX in Jacksonville, Florida.
It is believed the items have been buried under sand dunes for decades, only unearthed following Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
"Thank god for the person who discovered it was good enough to do something about it and to follow through and that the media in Florida was able to contact my brother in California," said Berry.
"If they had just not cared we could still be in the dark," she added.
Troy's family, including two nieces in Ottawa, are in contact with the local sheriff's department and is working to get some of the items returned to family. They say he was the most generous, funny and humble man who became a hero to so many in their family and in their small town.
"It's not closure but to have that artifact that has name on it, it's almost like it's a piece of him we are getting back," said Troy's niece, Sharon Troy.