Notable air tragedies

October 12, 2006

Knute Rockne

Notre Dame's legendary football coach, March 31, 1931, near Bazaar, Kansas, in a Fokker F10A Trimotor. Eight people, including Rockne, died. The coach was on his way to participate in the production of a film, The Spirit of Notre Dame.

Tom Gastall

Orioles reserve catcher, Sept. 20, 1956, in Chesapeake Bay. Gastall, who had been taking flying lessons, crashed while on a solo flight in his used Ercoupe plane on a windy afternoon.

Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo

Football team, 16 members and two others. Oct. 10., 1960, in Toledo, Ohio. The crash of a twin-engine C46 occurred on take-off after a game against Bowling Green. Thirty others on board survived. The crash is generally considered to be the reason football analyst John Madden, who had played at Cal Poly-SLO in 1957-58, refuses to fly and travels in his famous bus.

U.S. figure skating team

18 members. Feb. 16, 1961, in Brussels, Belgium, on the approach to the airport. All on board, including coaches and family members, were killed in the crash. Among those who died were nine-time U.S. ladies' champion Maribel Vinson-Owen and her two daughters.

Ken Hubbs

Chicago Cubs second baseman, Feb. 15, 1964, near Provo, Utah. The 22-year-old Hubbs had just won Rookie of the Year and was trying to overcome his fear of flying by learning to be a pilot himself. Weather was considered a factor in the crash of his small plane.

Tony Lema

Golfer and 1964 British Open champion, July 24, 1966, in Lansing, Ill. Known as "Champagne Tony" for his habit of celebrating a victory with a bottle of bubbly, Lema, his wife and two others died when their twin-engined plane apparently ran out of fuel and crashed on the seventh hole of a golf course.

Rocky Marciano

Heavyweight fighter, Aug. 13, 1969, in Des Moines, Iowa. On the day before his 46th birthday, Marciano - the only undefeated heavyweight champion ever - was killed in a single-engine plane crash along with two others after a birthday celebration.

Marshall University

Football team, 37 members, Nov. 14, 1970, in Huntington, W. Va. The crash occurred after a game against East Carolina; the players were among 75 people who were killed. It remains the worst air disaster affecting an NCAA program.

Alan Kulwicki

NASCAR driver, April 1, 1993, in Blountville, Tenn. Famous for his "Polish Victory Lap," where he celebrated by turning his car around and driving opposite of the customary direction, Kulwicki won the 1992 Winston Cup championship. He was killed in a crash of a corporate jet.

Davey Allison

NASCAR driver, July 13, 1993, at Talladega Superspeedway in Birmingham, Ala. A member of racing's famous "Alabama Gang," Allison was piloting a newly acquired helicopter and was attempting to land at Talladega when the crash occurred. He suffered serious head injuries and died the next day.

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