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1977 Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash

On October 20, 1977, at approximately 6:52 PM CDT, a Convair 220, N55VM chartered airplane carrying the country music band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, crashed 5 miles north of Gillsburg, Mississippi. The plane was traveling from Greenville, South Carolina to Baton Rouge, Louisiana when it ran out of gas and crashed into a forest near Gillsburg, Mississippi

At approximately 6:39 PM CDT, the pilots communicated with Houston Air Route Traffic Control Center and requested that the were declaring an emergency due to low fuel. They requested vector approach to McComb-Pike County Airport in McComb, Mississippi. At 6:45 PM CDT, the pilots notified Houston Air Route Traffic Control that the aircraft was out of fuel. This was the last radio transmission received from the aircraft. The aircraft had crashed in heavily wooded terrain.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) report, the probable cause of the crash was fuel exhaustion and a total loss of power on both engines due to crew inattention of fuel supply. Contributing to the fuel exhaustion were inadequate flight planning and an engine malfunction of undetermined nature in the right engine which resulted in a higher than normal fuel consumption.

The airplane was carrying 24 passengers and 2 crew members aboard on the flight.  The two crew members, Pilot Walter McCreary and Co-pilot William Gray, in addition to Lynyrd Skynyrd band members, Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines; Cassie Gaines, and assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, were killed on impact. The other passengers including several band members, Allen Collins, Gary Rossington, Leon Wilkeson, Billy Powell, Artimus Pyle, and Leslie Hawkins, were seriously injured.


Download the NTSB Aircraft Accident for the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash
(File Size is 3.2 MB)