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Sad but True!

Sam Beckett

Registered User
Hometown USA!
Why is it that a passenger airliner with 190 people onboard can crash into a corn field killing everyone and it is soon forgotten. Yet a small plane plummets to earth and kills the few people onboard and 30 years later songs are being written about it. The answer is simple. Just as in the way just about anything a celebrity can do or say will be reported in the news, its is often the case when they died, especially when it is unexpected, such as in a plane crash.
Below are some plane crashes that were unremarkable and would have soon been forgotten if not for the people who died onboard the plane. At the time, the crashes were investigated and documented, the nation (or fans) mourned the lost and the world went on. Nobody is missing and in most cases, the sites are well known. In doing the research for this we came across many more "celebrities" then we expected. So consider this the "Short List."
(Note to Newspaper Journalist: You are given permission to use information from this page as a sidebar for a story but please include a link to the site.)

Here they are, listed by date.
April 19, 2006: Famed test pilot Albert Scott Crossfield 84, died when his single-engine Cessna 210A encountered heavy thunderstorms and crashed in a heavily forested gully about 10 miles from Ranger, Georgia. He was flying from Prattville, Alabama to Herndon, Virginia, when his plane was reported missing. The plane was found the next day by the Civil Air Patrol. Crossfield was best known for being the first pilot to break Mach 2 in 1953, as well as flying the X-15 in 1960
March 13, 2006: Game show host Peter Tomarken 64, and his wife Kathleen, were killed when their Beechcraft Bonanza A36, N16JR, crashed a few hundred feet offshore in Santa Monica Bay during climb-out from the Santa Monica Airport in California. According to the FAA, the aircraft had engine trouble shortly after takeoff and attempted to turn back to the airport before crashing into the bay. Tomarken was best known as the host of the game show Press Your Luck.
Jun 27, 2005: Billionaire John Walton 58, the second son of the founder of Wal-Mart, was killed when his CGS Aviation Hawk Arrow ultra light crashed into terrain following a descent during the base leg of the visual approach to runway 19 at Jackson Hole Airport in Wyoming.
October 24, 2004: Ten friends and family members of Rick Hendrick, owner of the NASCAR company Hendrick Motorsports, were killed when their Beech 200 King Air, N501RH, crashed en route from Concord, N.C., to Martinsville Speedway in Virginia. The plane missed its first landing attempt at Blue Ridge Airport before veering off course and smashing into the mountain. There were no survivors.
October 25, 2002: U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone 58, Democratic, along with his wife Sheila, 58, daughter Marcia and five others in a snowy northern Minnesota plane crash that injected uncertainty into congressional elections only 11 days away. They had been on their way to a funeral for the father of a state lawmaker from the town of Virginia at the time of the accident, and had been scheduled to continue on for a debate in Duluth later in the day.
August 25, 2001: Singer and R&B vocalist Aaliyah 22, was killed in a plane crash when leaving the Bahamas following a video shoot. Her Cessna 402-B crashed during takeoff. Investigation has showed that the pilot had had traces of cocaine and alcohol in his body, as well as the airplane was overloaded. All nine people aboard died.
October 16, 2000: Missouri governor and Senate candidate Mel Carnahan (66) was killed along with his son Roger 44, and the governor's campaign adviser Chris Sifford when the Cessna 335 they were in crashed. The three had been en route to a rally for Carnahan's U.S. Senate campaign when the plane went down about 25 miles south of St. Louis in a hilly, wooded area.
February 14, 2000: Former Indy car driver Tony Lee Bettenhausen Jr. 48, youngest son of a famous auto racing family, his wife Shirley, and two associates died in a private plane crash on a Kentucky farm 30 miles from Lexington. The likely cause of the accident was ice on the wings and the inexperience of the pilot. His Beech 58 plunged thousands of feet, crashed, and burned.
October 25, 1999: Professional Golfer Payne Stewart died when his Learjet Model 35 crashed near Aberdeen, South Dakota. The airplane departed Orlando, Florida, for Dallas, Texas. Radio contact with the flight was lost north of Gainesville, Florida. The airplane was intercepted by several Air Force and Air National Guard aircraft as it proceeded northwest-bound. The military pilots in a position to observe the accident airplane at close range stated (in interviews or via radio transmissions) that the forward windshields of the Learjet seemed to be frosted or covered with condensation. The military pilots could not see into the cabin. The military pilots observed the airplane depart controlled flight and spiral to the ground, impacting an open field. All six were killed. The cause was the explosive decompression of the aircraft's cabin, resulting in the loss of consciousness for the occupants.
July 16, 1999: John F. Kennedy Jr. 38, his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy 35, and her elder sister Lauren Bessette 37, were killed when their Piper Saratoga II HP crashed into the ocean off Martha's Vineyard. Their crash may have been caused by John's inexperience in flying without instruments in a twilight haze over the ocean. They had been on their way to a family wedding.
October 12, 1997: Singer John Denver 53, died when his experimental single-engine Rutan Long EZ plane crashed near Monterey, California. At first, rescuers could not identify the body because the face was damaged beyond recognition, but authorities were later able to identify Denver by his fingerprints. Denver was famous for writing and performing “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” “Country Roads,” and other songs. The crash occurred when Denver inadvertently pressed down on the plane's right rudder pedal while trying to switch fuel tanks by reaching for the fuel selector switch behind him. The plane had been modified to place the fuel selector switch behind the pilot rather than between his legs.
April 3, 1996: U.S. Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown 55, died along with 34 other people when the Air Force CT-43 "Bobcat" passenger plane carrying the group on a trip crashed into a mountainside while approaching the Dubrovnik airport in Croatia during heavy rain and poor visibility. The Air Force quickly determined the tragic event to be an accident due to three major causes: command mistakes, errors by the flight crew, and outdated navigation equipment at the Dubrovnik civilian airport, despite rumored evidence indicating a potential conspiracy.
July 12,1993: NASCAR driver Davey Allison 32, was tragically injured in a crash while trying to land his Hughes 369HS helicopter at Talladega Super Speedway, Alabama, and died the next day. The official cause of the crash was the pilot's poor decision to land downwind in a confined area, surrounded by high obstructions, and his failure to properly compensate for the tailwind condition, coupled with the pilot's lack of experience in the airframe. In 1987, Davey Allison became the first NASCAR Winston Cup Series rookie to ever qualify on the front row for a Daytona 500.
April 1, 1993: NASCAR driver Alan Kulwicki 39 died in the crash of the Hooters corporate Fairchild SA227-TT jet near Blountville, Tenn., while enroute to the Bristol Motor Speedway. Kulwicki was the 1992 Winston Cup series champion. The crash was attributed to the failure of the pilot to follow procedures concerning use of the engine inlet anti-ice system and/or continuous ignition while operating in icing conditions, which resulted in probable ice ingestion and loss of engine power; and the pilot's failure to maintain sufficient airspeed while coping with the engine problem, which resulted in a stall. Three others died in the crash.
March 16, 1991: The band of singer Reba McEntire, and her manager died in the crash of their Hawker Siddeley DH.125-1A/522 near San Diego, Calif. A rushed flight schedule, combined with improper flight planning resulting in a controlled impact into mountainous terrain, killing all ten aboard. This mishap was the imprimis for her following album, For My Broken Heart.
March 09, 1991: Former baseball player Jim Hardin, who had been a pitcher for the Orioles, the Yankees, and the Braves, died when his Beech 35-C33A crashed in Key West, Florida. While in flight, the propeller of his aircraft failed from fatigue, and he crashed while performing an emergency landing.
August 27, 1990: Blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan 35, was killed in a helicopter crash near East Troy, Wisconsin. Four helicopters were being used to night transport a concert group. The helicopter in question, a Bell BHT-206-B Helicopter, remained at a lower altitude and crashed into terrain soon after taking off into fog. Failure of the pilot to attain adequate altitude before flying over rising terrain resulted in the deaths of all five aboard.
March 21, 1987: Singer and actor Dean Paul ("Dino") Martin 35, son of Dean Martin and also a Captain in the California Air National Guard, along with his Weapons System Officer, Captain Ramon Ortiz, both were killed in the crash of their F-4C Phantom fighter jet shortly after takeoff from March Air Force Base in southern California. The wreckage was discovered four days later near the summit of Mount San Gorgonio, on the side of a granite cliff. It was estimated that their aircraft hit the cliff at over 560 MPH during the occurrence of a high-speed "maximum performance" climb
Oct. 22, 1986: WNBC 66AM radio traffic reporter Jane Dornacker 38, was killed, and her pilot, Bill Pate, was injured when the main rotor of their helicopter, an Enstrom F-28F, seized and the aircraft sunk into the waters of the Hudson River near 45th St. in Manhattan. In the subsequent investigation, the NTSB found that the clutch that was installed in the helicopter was a military surplus part which was not intended for use in a civil aircraft. Dornacker had also been in another helicopter accident in the Hackensack River with a different pilot earlier in the year. She was the lead singer of the rock group Leila And The Snakes, as well as an actress; she appeared in the movie The Right Stuff.
December 31, 1985: Rock & roll singer Rick Nelson 45, five members of his Stone Canyon band, and his fiancée were killed when a fire broke out on board a DC-3 taking them to a New Year's Eve performance in Dallas, Texas. Two people survived the crash landing near DeKalb, Texas. The fire was caused by a malfunctioning heater. Nelson was first known as the son of Ozzie and Harriet in their TV show of the late 1950s. He later became famous as the singer of such hits as “Travelin' Man” and “Garden Party.”
September 2, 1983: George Cogar has been missing since his plane went down in British Columbia. George Cogar was instrumental in the founding of Mohawk Data Sciences Corporation during the 1960s. He left MDS and founded the Cogar Corporation, designing and manufacturing computer chips. He also invented the "intelligent terminal," an early forerunner of the modern personal computer.
March 19,1982: Randy Rhoads 25, the lead guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, died when the Beech Bonanza F35 he was aboard crashed into a house after a wing clipped Ozzy Osbourne's tour bus. All 3 aboard were killed as a result of the pilot attempting to buzz the bus.
July 23, 1982: Actor Vic Morrow 57, and two child actors (Myca Dinh Le and Rene Chen) were killed when a Bell UH-1B Huey helicopter landed on them during the filming of the movie Twilight Zone. The helicopter was send out of control when its tail rotor was hit by an explosive charge from the special effects during the filming of a scene.
August 2, 1979: Baseball player Thurman Munson 32, died when his twin-engine Cessna Citation jet fell 1000 feet short of the runway while practicing touch-and-go landings at the Akron-Canton airfield and tragically burst into flames. Two others were injured. Munson, the catcher for the New York Yankees, was a seven-time All-Star, the 1976 MVP, and the 1970 rookie of the year.
October 20, 1977, The Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash. Killed lead singer and song writer Ronnie VanZant, guitarist Steve Gaines, vocalist Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick. Also killed were pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray. According to the NTSB report, the pilots miscalculated the amount of fuel provided in Lakeland, Florida on October 18, 1977. When they refueled in Greenville, South Carolina on the 20th, they compounded this error by believing they had more fuel than they really did. The airplane was also experiencing some mechanical difficulties which required the pilots to operate the right engine in the "auto-rich" position which burned fuel at an excessive rate. The combination of these problems resulted in nearly complete fuel exhaustion. The pilots changed course and headed for an airport near McComb, Mississippi but the plane stalled near Gillsburg, Mississippi and crashed in swampy woods.
August 1, 1977: Francis Gary Powers 48, the American pilot of a U-2 spy plane shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960, and his cameraman were killed when his Bell 206 Jetranger helicopter crashed in Balboa Park on the way back from covering a brush fire. At the time, he was a helicopter pilot for KNBC television in Los Angeles, California.
September 20, 1973: Rock singer Jim Croce 30, members of his company (accompanist Maurice Muehleisen, manager Dennis Rast, and comedian George Stevens), and the pilot died when their chartered Beechcraft E18S crashed while taking off from the Natchitoches, Louisiana airport. The plane hit a tree when it failed to gain enough altitude on takeoff. Croce was famous for his rock hit, “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.”
December 31, 1972: Baseball great Roberto Clemente 38, and three others were killed when their overloaded Douglas DC-7CF plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off San Juan, Puerto Rico, on its way to providing relief supplies to the victims of a Nicaraguan earthquake.
December 8, 1972: The wife of E. Howard Hunt, Dorothy Hunt, is killed aboard United Airlines Flight 533 when the Boeing 737 crashed near Midway Field in Chicago, Ill, along with 39 other passengers (and the pilot, first, and second officers). Also killed is Veronica Kuculich, and her daughter Theresa, when the plane destroys the Kuculich residence at 3722 70th Place in Chicago. Eighteen aboard survive in crash. Dorothy Hunt's purse was found to contain $10,585 in cash, purported to be connected to President Richard Nixon's alleged 'slush fund', as E. Howard Hunt had been connected to the Watergate break-in. The NTSB, FBI, and Congress investigated the crash for sabotage but found nothing, blaming the crash on the flight crew's failure to activate wing spoilers.
October 16, 1972: Hale Boggs, the House Majority Leader, along with Alaska congressman Nick Begich, and two others disappeared in their Cessna 310 flying through the Chugach Mountain range in southeast Alaska. More information
May 28, 1971: World War II war hero and actor Audie Murphy 46, was killed along with four others when their private Aero Commander 680 plane crashed into the side of a mountain near Roanoke, Virginia. They had been flying into a heavy thunderstorm at the time of the crash. The Audie L. Murphy Memorial Website: http://www.audiemurphy.com.
August 31, 1969: Rocky Marciano 45, the former heavyweight champion boxer, and two others died in the crash of a Cessna 172H airplane near Newton, Iowa. It had been a dark and stormy night. He was one day short of celebrating his 46th birthday.
March 27, 1968: The first man in space, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, was killed in the crash of his MiG-15UTI while on a training mission east of Moscow, Russia. His body apparently was found two hours later frozen and rumored to be reeking of alcohol.
December 10, 1967: Rock 'n roll singer Otis Redding 26, and four members of his Bar-Kays band were killed when their Beechcraft H18 plane crashed in icy Lake Monoma near Madison, Wisconsin, on a foggy night. Redding is best known for his hit, “Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay,” which was released after his death. Redding had recorded the song just three days earlier.
July 24, 1966: Professional Golfer Tony Lema 32, his wife, the pilot and co-pilot, die in the crash of their Beech H50 on his way to a golf outing in Joliet, Ill., for a small tournament at golf course that straddled the Indiana-Illinois state line. He had been scheduled to play in a one-day tournament on that very course the next day.. The twin-engine plane began experiencing mechanical trouble with the engine. The pilot frantically sought an open field in which to crash land the plane, but the plane disintegrated on impact, coming to rest in a small pond on the golf course. He died with $23,000 in his briefcase, mostly in the form of uncashed tournament checks dating back six months.
July 8, 1965: Stunt pilot Albert “Paul” Mantz 62 was killed when his Phoenix P-1 plane broke apart on landing while filming the movie, "The Flight of the Phoenix".
July 31, 1964: Country Singer Jim "Gentleman" Reeves 39, was killed in the crash of his Beechcraft 35 Debonair.
March 5, 1963: Patsy Cline 30, Cowboy Copas, Hawkshaw Hawkins, and Cline's manager were killed when their Piper PA-24 Comanche plane crashed near Camden, Tennessee, in adverse weather conditions. Cline was famous for her country hit, “Crazy.” Copas and Hawkins were Grand Ole Opry stars.
September 17, 1961: United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld 56 died, along with 15 others, in the crash of the Douglas DC-6B he is aboard on approach to the airport near Ndola in the African nation of Zambia. About ten miles from the runway, the aircraft descended too low, and impacted the jungle below. The findings of the UN investigation team afterwards stated: "It was strongly urged that the Commission should not conclude that the accident was due to pilot error. Reasons have been given for saying that other suggested causes were not really possible. Reasons have also been given for concluding that the approach was made by a visual descent procedure in which the aircraft was brought too low. It could not be said whether that came about as a result of inattention to the altimeters or misreading of them. The Commission felt it must conclude that the aircraft was allowed, by the pilots, to descend too low. In so doing it struck trees and crashed." However, rumors persist about this accident, alleging that the victims may have been shot prior to the crash or that a bomb onboard exploded.
February 3, 1959: The Day The Music Died. Rock Hall of Famers Buddy Holly 22, the Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson) 29, and Ritchie Valens 18, as well as the pilot Roger Peterson died when their Beechcraft Bonanza plane crashed just outside Clear Lake, Iowa, during a stormy winter night. Holly was famous for many hits including “Peggy Sue.” The Big Bopper had one big hit, “Chantilly Lace,” and Valens was best known for his hit, “La Bamba.” February 3, 1959 - Clear Lake Crash Site
March 22, 1958: Mike Todd, his biographer Art Cohn, the pilot, and co-pilot were killed when his Lockheed Lodestar private plane, “The Lucky Liz,” named after Todd's wife, Elizabeth Taylor, crashed in bad weather in the Zuni Mountains of New Mexico. During their flight, ice had developed on their wings. The ice put too heavy a load on the engines, thus causing the crash. Todd had been on his way from Burbank to New York City to attend a Friars Club award meeting to receive the Showman of the Year award.
October 1, 1949: Pop singer, Buddy Clark, died from injuries he sustained when the light plane he was in crashed on a street in Los Angeles, California. Some of Clark's famous recordings include “I'll Dance at Your Wedding,” “A Dreamer's Holiday,” and especially “Linda.”
May 13, 1948: Kathleen Kennedy Cavendish 28, the sister of President John Kennedy, died when the de Havilland Dove 1 she was aboard crashing into Mount Coron, in France, killing all 10 aboard. Kathleen had been flying to a family reunion on the Riviera.
December 15, 1944: Band leader Glenn Miller, disappears aboard a Norseman UC-64 departing from Twinwood Field in England enroute to Paris. The most popular theory is his aircraft was accidentally bombed in midair by returning bombers. However, other theories persist... More information
Aug 12, 1944: Joseph P. Kennedy 29 eldest brother of President John F. Kennedy, died when he was flying a B-24 loaded with explosives to be guided via remote control to crash into the German missile site at Mimoyecques, France. However, the explosives detonated early in the air over Blytheburgh, England.
January 16, 1942: Actress Carole Lombard 33, her mother, her press agent, and 19 other people were killed when their Trans Continental & Western DC-3 airplane crashed near Las Vegas, Nevada, as they were returning from a war-bond promotion tour. Carole's death was the first war-related female casualty that the U.S. suffered during World War II. It is presumed that the plane was off course because the captain of the plane was in the back talking to Lombard and the first officer was up front flying all alone in instrument conditions. The plane clipped a rocky ledge on Mt. Potosi, flipped into the face of a cliff, and exploded. Carole, best known for such comedies as Nothing Sacred, was married to Clark Gable. The Red Rock Ranch (as known as the Bar Nothing Ranch, and in later years, the Spring Valley Ranch), where her plane crashed, was owned by Chet Lauck and Norris Goff, who played “Lum and Abner” on radio. It is now a state park. She was posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as the first woman killed in the line of duty in WWII.
December 11, 1941: John Gillespie Magee, Jr. 19, American pilot and poet, was killed when his VZ-H Spitfire V collided with an Oxford Trainer from Cranwell Airfield during World War II. The mid-air collision occurred over the village of Roxholm, England. Earlier that year on September 3rd, Magee flew to 30,000 feet during a test flight in a newer model of the Spitfire V. As he orbited and climbed upward, he was struck with the inspiration of his famous poem “High Flight” where he wrote of touching the face of God.
July 2, 1937: Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared aboard her Lockheed 10E "Electra" on one of the final legs of her 'around-the-world' flight. While flying to Howland Island in the south Pacific, the aircraft became lost, and believed to be lost at sea, despite the largest search in naval history. More information
August 15, 1935: On a flight to the Orient, humorist Will Rogers 56, and aviator Wiley Post (37) died when their Lockheed Orion-Explorer plane crashed near Point Barrow, Alaska, after taking off in bad weather.
March 31, 1931: Football coach Knute Rockne 43, died in the crash of a commerical Fokker F-10A Tri-motor flight. He had coached for the Fighting Irish football team of Notre Dame, and in the 13 years he coached, the team won 105 games, lost 12, tied 5, and had 6 National Championships. One of the plane's wings separated in flight after penetrating a rainstorm and the aircraft crashed into a wheat field near Bazaar, Kansas. A structural design flaw caused wing-aileron flutter which led to the wing separation. All 8 aboard killed.

Also of note: At least 18 U.S. senators and members of Congress have died in plane crashes. Among them were Senator John Heinz, R-Pa., and former Senator John Tower, R-Texas, who died in unrelated plane accidents within a day of each other in April 1991.



Our times

It is sad Sam. A big part of life is Death, you just have to make the best of it while you have it. Look at that ruler of life and find your age on it, now see how much time is left, not much and thats if everything goes right

The twin towers were lost with alot of people, yet not long ago over 70,000 people died in a earthquake on the other side of the world. Most people don't remember it.

All of us have a very small window of life, make the best of it.