Photos are courtesy of WSU Alum, Greg Records. A dazed Hoheisel and a few of his teammates were met on the mountain by a construction worker who was helping build the Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70, below the crash site. A roadside memorial plaque listing the names of the victims is located near the Colorado crash site, adjacent to westbound Interstate 70. The Wichita State plane crash is often forgotten and overshadowed because of a similar accident that happened just 43 days later. Lewis and Donnie Christian were best friends in Duncan. [6] A pair of Martin 4-0-4s (which had not flown since 1967) were re-certified for flight. Memorial '70: Survivors reflect on life after WSU plane crash - KAKE News [7], Shortly before the crash, several witnesses described seeing an aircraft flying unusually low towards the Continental Divide. The plane hit the side of a mountain and 31 people were killed. Lewis, wearing only a necktie and still in shock, tried to scoot down on his butt. Significant factors were the overloaded condition of the aircraft, the virtual absence of flight planning for the chosen route of flight from Denver to Logan, a lack of understanding on the part of the crew of the performance capabilities and limitations of the aircraft, and the lack of operational management to monitor and appropriately control the actions of the flightcrew. The Shockers traveled in two planes. The “Gold” plane was carrying many of the team’s starters, Head Coach Ben Wilson, athletic director Bert Katzenmeyer, and additional personnel. That decision proved to be deadly when one plane went down, taking the lives of 32 people on board, including members of the Wichita State University football team, coaches and boosters. Fifty years after his grandfather was killed in the crash of a plane carrying WSU football players and others to a game in Utah, Evan Fahrbach is pursuing an MBA at Wichita State with the help of a scholarship created to honor those in the crash. [4] At 1:14 p.m. MDT, the "Gold" aircraft struck trees on the east slope of Mount Trelease, 1,600 feet (490 m) below its summit, and crashed. Read more ›. The starters generally flew on the gold plane, but Featherstone mistakenly still was assigned to the black plane for the trip. “That was the last time I saw Johnny.”. Section of wing with landing gear still visible. Some witnesses located on higher mountainside locations, such as Loveland Pass at 11,990 feet (3,655 m), reported seeing it flying below them. A memorial for victim Carl Kreuger sits at the crash site. Forty-four years ago, a plane carrying the Wichita State football team crashed in Colorado. But according to the NTSB, the accident could have easily been prevented if … Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at 405-760-8080 or at [email protected] He’ll gaze in the direction of I-70, which stretches west through 420 miles of Kansas, then to Denver. The group would never make it to Utah. Lewis’ leg was so badly damaged, his foot was hanging sideways. Team '70, those Shockers call their fallen teammates. He was a defensive end from Duncan and had NFL aspirations. Survivors, friends and family will convene at the Wichita Country Club to console and reminisce about the lives lost. Each year on Oct. 2 at 9 a.m., a wreath is placed at this memorial. [citation needed]. “We do so to remember and honor our friends and to renew our relationships with each other,” Featherstone said. In clear and calm weather in Colorado at 1:14 p.m. MDT on Friday, October 2, 1970, a chartered Martin 4-0-4 airliner crashed into a mountain eight miles (13 km) west of Silver Plume. Living A Miracle. “I honor their memory every day,” Lewis said. "[11], The overloaded aircraft,[12][13] nearing Loveland Pass as it flew up Clear Creek Valley, became trapped in a box canyon and was unable to climb above the mountain ridges surrounding it on three sides, nor complete a reversal turn away from the sharply rising terrain. And Featherstone specifically wants Oklahomans to remember four of the 31: Four Oklahomans among the 31 aboard an airplane that entered a Colorado canyon and never came out. [8] The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation report stated the First Officer testified that he intended to use the charts to help point out landmarks and objects of interest to the passengers. The memories of the 31 people who died in a plane crash on Oct. 2, 1970 — including 14 members of the football team, 14 staff and boosters, and three crew members — are honored every year at Wichita State’s Memorial ’70 observance, but survivors, friends and family choose to remember their loved ones by hiking up to the crash site located on a mountain west of Silver Plume, Colorado. After takeoff in clear weather, the two aircraft took divergent paths away from Denver. One of the deceased passengers was an off-duty flight attendant who was assisting. Almost every day, Dave Lewis walks out onto his back deck, gingerly, because his left leg remains a medical textbook, after six surgeries and four total knee replacements. Less scenic, this route allowed more time to gain altitude for the climb over the Rocky Mountains. “They are still greatly missed to this day,” Featherstone said. [4][7] The load of fuel on board did not explode immediately, allowing survivors to escape the wreckage, but the passenger cabin was eventually consumed by an explosion before those still alive and trapped inside could escape. Some are in poor health. HESSTON—Gary King played the role of a victim for a while after the Wichita State University plane crash that claimed his parents on Oct. 2, 1970. All of these people were changed forever, but we have stayed very close all these years.”. Fifty years since one of the planes took the traditional route from Denver after a fuel stop, and the other plane took a scenic route. As a student at Wichita State, Jeremy Hubbard was completely unaware of the 1970 plane crash. They know that at some point, the memorials and memories will burn only in their souls. Featherstone was on the plane that didn’t crash. Pilot errors, including poor in-flight decisions and inadequate pre-flight planning, were officially reported as leading to the crash. None may be as fascinating or sobering as the wreckage of the 1970 Wichita State University crash. “I look up there and think of them.”. “Donnie was the strongest guy I ever met,” Lewis said. He wants his home state to remember the four victims from Oklahoma. Decades after a tragic plane crash took the lives of 31 people, families are still coping with their loss. For 50 years, those Shockers have assembled in October to commemorate the lives lost. “Class president. The National Transportation Safety Board report states that weather played no role in the accident,[7] and lists the probable cause to be that the pilot made improper decisions in-flight or in planning: "The intentional operation of the aircraft over a mountain valley route at an altitude from which the aircraft could neither climb over the obstructing terrain ahead, nor execute a successful course reversal. Some of the survivors started down the mountain, seeking help. When Featherstone left John Marshall, Duren was a runt on the B team. Featherstone grew up with Duren. Over the years, hikers have left behind mementos and other paraphernalia at site of the Wichita State University 1970 plane crash. [7] During the flight to Denver he visited passengers in the cabin, advising them that after refueling they would take a scenic route, near Loveland Ski Area and Mount Sniktau, the proposed alpine skiing venues for the 1976 Winter Olympics, recently awarded to Denver in May. I don’t want ‘em to be forgotten.”. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,... Featherstone spent 34 years in law enforcement but still breaks down when talking about his friends who never made it to Logan. Wichita State football is gone. Lewis was on the gold plane. Relatives of members of the 1970 Wichita State University Shockers football team visit the crash site where an airplane carrying some of the players crashed near Loveland Pass Monday, July 27, 2020, west of Silver Plume, Colo. Wreckage from the plane, which was one of two being used to take the Shockers to play a football game against Utah State University in Logan, Utah, is still scattered on the … Mary Lynne dropped out of college to help care for her siblings in Hesston. Of the 40 on board, 31 died. Of the 40 on board, 31 died. When the plane entered the canyon, and the Rocky Mountains suddenly loomed near, and the pilot started banking, desperately trying to buy time, Christian looked back at Lewis. Commenting on NewsOK requires a NewsOK Pro or Oklahoman subscription. "[4] Although occupying the left seat, he was acting in the capacity of a First Officer because he did not have a type rating on the Martin 4-0-4. Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. A list of the 31 people killed in the Wichita State football plane crash on Oct. 2, 1970. [6] "Gold", the aircraft that later crashed, carried the starting players, head coach, and athletic director, as well as their wives, other administrators, boosters, and family. On Friday October 2 in that year, at 1:14 p.m., a Martin 4-0-4 aircraft flown by Golden Eagle Aviation crashed into a mountain eight miles west of Silver Plume, Colorado. Every year on October 2 at 9 a.m., a wreath is placed at this memorial. A memorial service will be staged in Cessna Stadium, which has remained even though Wichita State dropped football in 1987. Detailed directions and photos can be found on Mountainouswords.com. They will meet again Friday on the Wichita State campus, more than 30 strong, along with dozens of friends and family of victims and survivors. “They got us off the plane and onto a bus and told us not to talk to anybody,” Yeros said. Many of the 1970 Shockers have traveled to the crash site over the years, making the difficult climb to shed tears, leave mementos, offer prayers. On Oct. 2, 1970, Wichita State lineman Mal Kimmel boarded a plane with his teammates for their game against Utah State. Friends and family members of the victims of the plane crash that killed most of the Wichita State football team go over the crash site last July. Lewis’ seat belt was off. Wichita State University built a memorial for those who died from the crash called Memorial '70. That is where the two planes took two vastly different paths into history leading to the Wichita State Crash. Black & Gold: Remembering The WSU Plane Crash video by KPTS. The NTSB report stated a belief that many on board survived the initial impact, based on the testimony of survivors and rescuers. Around 1 p.m., the chartered twin-engined propliner transporting the Wichita State University football team from Wichita, Kansas, crashed at the base of Mount Trelease, 8 … Crash. [6] The four-engined DC-6 was a large, powerful aircraft that could accommodate the entire team. A plane carrying 26 student-athletes, athletic officials and some fans traveled to Logan, Utah for a game against Utah State. It was one of two aircraft carrying the 1970 Wichita State Shockers football team to Logan, Utah, for a game against Utah State; the second aircraft flew a conventional route and arrived safely in Utah. WSU Plane crash On 2 October 1970, a twin-engine plane carrying Wichita State University football players, staff and supporters crashed near Loveland Pass enroute to a game in Utah. National Honor Society member.”. Wichita State Plane Wreck is a 1.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Silver Plume, Colorado that features a great forest setting and is rated as moderate. He said that he would die young and would be a plane crash. Teammates, family members and friends visit the crash site of an airplane carrying members of the 1970 Wichita State University Shockers football team near … “Some of the greatest young men/athletes that ever came out of our state,” Featherstone said. “I stayed where I was,” Featherstone said. Trees remain down after being clipped by the wings of the airplane. The other crew flying the "Black" aircraft adhered to the original flight plan and took a more northerly route, heading north from Denver to southern Wyoming then west, using a designated airway. The names of the 31 people who died in the 1970 Wichita State football plane crash are on a memorial on the western edge of the WSU campus, near Hillside Street. They were dozen and tearful over loss of friends in Friday crash. The report concluded the crew did not allow enough time for the charts to be studied properly to avoid high terrain before takeoff commenced. Wichita State plane crash survivor takes on a mission of remembrance The first time Rick Stephens descended Mount Trelease, near Silver Plume, Colorado, he faded in and out of consciousness. Not only were they just great young men, friendly to everyone, and amazing athletes, they also were too young to die while they had so much to offer.”. Lewis doesn’t know how far he got before those miners found him. The hike along an unmarked (but easy to find) trail is about a mile and the area is still densely littered with twisted metal. • Randy Kiesau, defensive back, Clinton High School. [5], It was one of two aircraft carrying the 1970 Wichita State Shockers football team to Logan, Utah, for a game against Utah State;[6] the second aircraft flew a conventional route and arrived safely in Utah. Of the 40 on board, 31 died either in the crash or as a result of injuries sustained in it. [6] After the agreements were made, the DC-6 was damaged and was unavailable for use. I got up to go to the cockpit, which wasn't unusual to do, and I could tell we were in trouble, looking out the window and seeing nothing but green in front of us. The remnants of that Wichita State team have spent half a century honoring the memory of those who died. It crashed around 1 p.m. about 40 miles west of Denver on Mount Trelease. Buy Now. 31 out of the 40 people on board were killed. OCT 2 1970 OCT 4 1970 Surviving members of the Wichita State University football team arrive at Stapleton International Airport in Denver Saturday morning aboard a flight from Salt Lake City, Utah. Wichita State University built a memorial for those who died from the crash called Memorial '70. A reception will be held on the stadium concourse, then later in the day are planned screenings of short documentaries filmed about the crash. But Featherstone has a particular mission. Buttons bearing the names of the 1970 Wichita State University Shockers football team who died in an airplane crash sit in a part of the fuselage of the craft as teammates, family members and friends visit the crash site near Loveland Pass on July 27, west of Silver Plume, Colo. [AP Photo/David... Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. On Friday, October 2, 1970, a pair of Martin 404 twin-engine aircraft took off from Wichita, Kansas, carrying the Wichita State University (WSU) football team, coaches, and VIP supporters. It’s here a plane carrying the Wichita State football team crashed while traveling to a game at Utah State on Oct. 2, 1970. This might be the end of the official Wichita State commemorances. A painting of a Wichita State football helmet, draped by a cap, is present at the crash site. Wichita Eagle and Beacon - Crash 1970. (2000, October 1). Lewis takes a list with him onto the deck. “I could talk for hours about my memories,” Featherstone said. [7] • Johnny Duren, wide receiver, John Marshall High School. [19] A trail to the wreck site via Dry Gulch is 0.4 miles past the memorial off exit 216. Morgan Anderson. [4][7], While the aircraft were refueled and serviced in Denver, First Officer Skipper purchased aeronautical sectional charts for the contemplated scenic route. “We always thought the 50th would be the biggest” reunion, Featherstone said. A special time to donate to the Football ’70 Memorial Scholarship. This sent me back to the tragic day, 50 years ago, when Randy was killed. [9], The President of Golden Eagle Aviation, Ronald G. Skipper (1936–2003),[10] was the pilot flying "Gold. The plane crashed into a mountainside in Colorado, killing 31 people on board. Lewis and teammate Glenn Kostal were placed in a miner’s shack so they could lay down. Sports editor for The Sunflower, Sean Marty, observes the 1970 Wichita State plane crash site on Sunday, Sept. 27 near Silver Plume, Colorado. Newspaper clippings, including The Sunflower, Wichita State News, and Midway, regarding the plane crash, the memorial, and follow-up stories on the victim’s families. [7], Upon arrival in Wichita, the two aircraft were loaded with luggage and the passengers were boarded. [5], Classes at Wichita State were canceled for Monday, October 5, and a memorial service was held that evening on campus at Cessna Stadium. September 27, 2020, 4:00 AM Wichita Eagle photographer Travis Heying in August visited the Colorado site where a plane that carried members of the Wichita State football team crashed … Lewis was lying on the ground when he realized all his clothes were gone, shorn off by the trees. Wichita State plane crash survivor takes on a mission of remembrance The first time Rick Stephens descended Mount Trelease, near Silver Plume, Colorado, he faded in and out of consciousness. Lutz, B. A roadside memorial plaque listing the names of the victims is located near the Colorado crash site, adjacent to westbound Interstate 70, at Dry Gulch at milepost 217 (39°41′47″N 105°52′25″W / 39.6965°N 105.8736°W / 39.6965; -105.8736), about two miles (3 km) east of the Eisenhower Tunnel. “While we mourn those we lost that day, we also focus on those who survived the crash. Miners building the tunnel had seen the crash and were headed up to help. A memorial stands on the campus, and enhancements will be unveiled Friday. [citation needed], Of the total of 40 on board, the death count at the scene was 29, which included 27 passengers, the captain, and flight attendant. • Don Christian, defensive back, Duncan High School. They noticed a phone. She answered the phone, and her son explained what had happened. On 2 October 1970, a twin-engine plane carrying Wichita State University football players, staff and supporters crashed near Loveland Pass enroute to a game in Utah. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips. [8], The two aircraft were dubbed "Gold" and "Black" after the school colors. Featherstone’s family eventually moved into the country, and he spent his final two seasons of high school at Edmond Memorial. Nine people survived the crash. “I asked Glenn, ‘you think it works? So for 50 years, he’s remembered not just the names and faces, but the spirit that made those names and faces soar. Wichita State Crash Survivor Relives Details - The Oklahoman Crash site an important memorial for 'Gold Plane' family - Clear Creek Courant Triumph and tragedy: Scotties grad Barkell starred at Wichita State, recalls plane crash - Herald-Standard On October 2, 1970, these were ferried from the Jack Richards Aircraft Company facilities in Oklahoma City to Wichita, instead of the DC-6. The Wichita State University football team plane crash refers to a 1970 plane crash. It’s here a plane carrying the Wichita State football team crashed while traveling to a game at Utah State on Oct. 2, 1970. A Wichita State University flag hangs from a tree Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, above the crash site of the Martin 404 twin-engine plane that crashed into … Of the 40 on board, 31 died either in the crash or as a result of injuries sustained in it. Wichita State players remember their 'second season' 50 years later (8:03) Wichita State was devastated by a tragic plane crash 50 years ago. But as they wound their way between the peaks, disaster struck: the plane became boxed into an inescapable … Portrait of John Yeros near the site of a plane crash … “We Are Marshall.” Marshall football rebounded and has thrived. David Zalubowski/AP A likeness of the football helmet for the Wichita State Shockers, circa 1970, is draped by a cap as teammates, family members and friends visit the crash site … “All four of these guys were great young men,” Featherstone said. Today, traces of the tragic plane crash still remain on the mountain near Silver Plume, Colorado. Pilot errors, including poor in-flight decisions and inadequate pre-flight planning, were officially reported as leading to the crash. Wichita State constructed a memorial for those who died from the crash called Memorial ‘70. The accident was the first of two college football charter aircraft to crash in 1970; six weeks later, Southern Airways Flight 932, carrying the Marshall University team, crashed in Huntington, West Virginia as the team returned from a game in North Carolina. I knew almost every one of those killed. “Randy and I played football at Clinton High School. 50 years ago, WSU’s football team was flying through the Dry Gulch when the plane crashed into the side of a mountain on Oct. 2, 1970.