On That Day …
Everyone on board perished that included 36 football players, 39 coaches, school administrators, community leaders, boosters and the flight crew. Players who didn’t make the road trip were called upon to identify crash victims through clothing, jewelry, shoes – even scars. Six players whose bodies were never identified were buried at the Marshall University Plane Crash Memorial. The crash left 18 children as orphans.
The airliner continued on final approach to Tri-State Airport when it collided with the tops of trees on a hillside 5,543 ft west of runway 11 (now runway 12). The plane burst into flames and created a swath of charred ground 95 ft wide and 279 ft long. According to the official National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report, the accident was “unsurvivable”. The aircraft “dipped to the right, almost inverted, and had crashed into a hollow ‘nose-first'”. By the time the plane came to a stop, it was 4,219 ft short of the runway and 275 ft south of the middle marker. The report additionally notes, “Most of the fuselage was melted or reduced to a powder-like substance; however, several large pieces were scattered throughout the burned area.” The remains of six passengers were never identified.
The NTSB investigated the accident and its final report was issued on April 14, 1972. In the report, the NTSB concluded, “[…] the probable cause of this accident was the descent below Minimum Descent Altitude during a nonprecision approach under adverse operating conditions, without visual contact with the runway environment”.
Final Resting Place:
Spring Hill Cemetery
1427 Norway Avenue
Huntington, West Virginia, 25701
Grave Location:Section 1953M, Marshall University Plane Crash Memorial
Grave Location Description
As you drive into the cemetery from second entrance on Norway Avenue the road will curve around to the right. Take the first hard right and then the second right (just follow the signs) to the Marshall University Plane Crash Memorial featuring the final resting place of head coach Rick Tolley.
Grave Location GPS38.41254342373635, -82.41887468894218
Visiting The Grave:
Read More About Rick Tolley:
- Wikipedia Entry
- Terrible Night in 1970 Remains a Vivid Memory
- Reflections of a Survivor - Mary Jane Tolley
- Coach's promising future was tragically cut short
- Fifty years later, Tech Athletics remembering two who died in Marshall plane crash
- Marshall’s Plane Crash Happened 52 Years Ago, But the Memory Still Remains
- They Are Marshall: 50 years after the plane crash, those closest to the tragedy are still healing
- Marshall University football team airplane crash 1970
- Marshall-Huntington Linked Forever By Plane Crash
- The Deadly Plane Crash That Nearly Killed A Sport
- Gallery: Victims of the 1970 Marshall Plane Crash
- We are Marshall: What Was True and What Was Not?