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?
Videos Featuring Rick Tolley:
popular name: Bradley Lord
date_of_death: February 15, 1961
cause_of_death: Airplane Crash
best_know_for: Bradley Lord athlete and American figure skater who competed in men's singles. He won the gold medal at the 1961 United States Figure Skating Championships and placed second at the 1961 North American Figure Skating Championships. Lord was en route to the World Championships in 1961 when his plane (Sabena Flight 548) crashed near Brussels, Belgium, killing all 72 people on board and one person on the ground. The fatalities included the entire United States figure skating team, who were travelling to the World Figure Skating Championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia.
popular name: Gertrude Ederle
date_of_death: November 30, 2003
cause_of_death: Natural Causes
best_know_for: Gertrude Caroline Ederle was an American competition swimmer, Olympic champion, and former world record-holder in five events. On August 6, 1926, she became the first woman to swim across the English Channel. Among other nicknames, the press sometimes called her "Queen of the Waves".
popular name: Beals Wright
date_of_death: August 23, 1961
cause_of_death: Natural causes
best_know_for: A graduate of Harvard University, Beals Wright was an accomplished tennis player, winning gold medals in men’s singles and doubles at the 1904 St. Louis Olympic Games, U.S. championships in men’s doubles in 1904, 1905, and 1906, and the men’s singles in 1905. Beals was a member of the Davis Cup team for five years between 1905 and 1912, and was ranked in the top ten U.S. tennis players for ten years. After his playing days ended, he continued in the sport as a referee and as a promoter of tennis tournaments. Beals Wright was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame (then called the Lawn Tennis Hall of Fame) in 1956.