Photo by ACHPF via Shutterstock

Urban explorer Jermey Krans uncovered the crash site of a secret CIA jet plane that went down just outside Area 51. The crash occurred in 1967 when the fuel in pilot Walter Ray’s Lockheed A-12 jet mysteriously dropped and his ejection gear malfunctioned. Information regarding the location, type of plane and pilot were never released to the public until Kran’s discovery. 

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Lockheed’s Skunk Works pioneered the 1955 U-2 craft and created the A-12 soon after, during the Cold War. Ray’s A-12 jet was intended to spy on the Soviet Union and flew almost three times the speed of sound. It was the first plane to be made of titanium. 

The A-12 was a classified project for the CIA and most notably flew over North Vietnam and Korea. 


In the 1990’s Krans heard about the crash for the first time and, already an active urban explorer, began researching the classified plane. The only information about the accident was given in The Oxcart Story. Published in 1996 it details the creation of Ray’s secret plane. The story, written by the CIA, says the plane went down around 70 miles away from Area 51. 


Krans gathered as much information as he could, including Ray’s death certificate and filled a Freedom of Information Act with the CIA to get the coordinates of Ray’s landing site and the plane’s. He received a number of coordinates in response. 

The urban explorer visited the sites in 2005, 2008 and 2009 before coming across a bit of the A-12 jet. 

“I walked up this side wash and before long I was shouting and bending over picking up that first piece,” Krans wrote on RoadRunners Internationale. “Everybody behind me scattered forward and up both hill sides. Soon we were in the middle of the debris field.”

After the discovery, Krans returned to the coordinates of the crash in 2014 to memorialize the pilot, Walter Ray. 

Written ByAshley Grams

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