A woman whose parents died in a plane crash 55 years ago has been reunited with her mother’s wedding ring after a hiker found it near the crash site and tracked her down.
Hugh and Hazel Wharton, went missing while flying their four-seater plane over western Washington in 1959.
Their daughter Joyce Wharton said her father was a very experienced pilot, but ‘they flew that morning out of Portland to Seattle and never arrived.’
The crash site was discovered 14 years later, just a few miles outside of Centralia.
But Ms Wharton says only her father’s wallet and some buttons were left.
In 1997 Nick Buchanan, a logger, was hiking when he saw a small cedar tree.
‘I’m digging in the roots and flipped that ring out,’ he said.
The ring was gold with five stones.
‘Had the tree grown just a few more years, it would have been covered up forever,’ he said.
Buchanan said he realized it belonged to the couple who died in the plane crash and for nearly 20 years he kept the ring safe.
‘I never once though it belonged to me,’ said Buchanan.
‘I just was hoping that there was a daughter or a family member that I could turn it over to.
Recently his nephew and a friend did some research online which led them to Ms Wharton in New Jersey.
‘Sunday morning he called me and he asked me some questions,’ said Ms Wharton.
‘He says ‘I’ve been looking for you.’
‘Then he said “Joyce, I found your mother’s wedding ring and I want to give it back to you.”’
Ms Wharton received the ring in the mail 3,000 miles away this week.
‘You just think it’s impossible to get a ring back after all those years,’ she said.