Remembering Marshall Plane Tragedy 50 Years Later


On this West Virginia Morning, it’s Friday, Nov. 13, 2020 – the day before the 50th anniversary of the Marshall University football plane crash. We take a moment to remember one of the worst sports tragedies in college football history. Also, our Mountain Stage Song of the Week features Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn.

Fifty years ago, on Nov. 14, 1970, a plane carrying 75 members of the Marshall University football team, boosters and community leaders crashed on approach to Huntington Tri-State airport, killing everyone on board. The crash changed the university as the students and faculty grieved. The accident also changed the city of Huntington, and the relationship between the university and the town as well.

Eric Douglas, a Marshall alumnus, interviewed several people who were on campus at the time, or just afterward, about those changes.

Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn are some of the most renowned banjo players in the world. The duo — who are also husband and wife — joined Mountain Stage in 2014 to promote the debut record from their musical collaboration. Here they are performing “What ‘Cha Gonna Do” as our Song of the Week.

West Virginia Morning is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting which is solely responsible for its content.

Support for our news bureaus comes from West Virginia University, Concord University, and Shepherd University.

Our Appalachia Health News project is made possible with support from CAMC and Marshall Health.

West Virginia Morning is produced with help from Glynis Board, Caitlin Tan, Jessica Lilly, Liz McCormick, Dave Mistich, Brittany Patterson, Eric Douglas, Emily Allen, and Roxy Todd.

Andrea Billups is our news director. Jessica Lilly is our host and producer.

Listen to West Virginia Morning weekdays at 7:43 a.m. on WVPB Radio or subscribe to the podcast and never miss an episode. #WVMorning