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On This Day in 1970: Plane Crashes Killing 75

14 Nov 2016, 7:15 pm

It was on this date in 1970 that Marshall University was devastated when a plane carrying their entire football team crashed outside Kenova, West Virginia.

The team was returning from that day’s game, a 17-14 loss to East Carolina University. Thirty-seven Marshall football players were aboard the Southern Airways flight 932, along with the team’s coach, its doctors, the university athletic director and 25 team boosters who had traveled to North Carolina to cheer on the Thundering Herd.

NTSB
Photo: NTSB

The pilots made contact with air traffic control at roughly 7:23 pm and were instructed to descend to 5,000 feet, and that there was “rain, fog, smoke and a ragged ceiling.” Just after 7:34 pm, the crew reported passing the airports outer marker and the controller gave them clearance to land. It was at that time the plane descended to a much lower altitude than it should have according to the approach procedures. The plane collided with a group of trees and burst into flames landing just over a half mile away from the runway

The university held a memorial service in the stadium the next day and cancelled Monday’s classes. There were so many funerals that they had to be spread out over several weeks. In perhaps the saddest ceremony of all, six players whose remains couldn’t be identified were buried together in Spring Hill Cemetery, on a hill overlooking their university.

Header Image: Marshall University

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