Two planes carrying Wichita State football players, coaches, administrators and fans refueled on Friday, Oct. 2, 1970, in Denver. The team was headed to Logan, Utah, for a game the next day against Utah State.
The pilots of the “Gold” plane changed their flight plan, deciding to give their passengers a scenic view of the Rocky Mountains. But they could not pull the overweight plane out of a box canyon. It crashed around 1 p.m. about 40 miles west of Denver on Mount Trelease.
The crash site is about a 575-mile drive from Wichita and is above I-70 on the north side of the highway and sits on public land in the Arapahoe National Forest.
The pilots of the doomed aircraft were blamed for the accident by the National Transportation Safety Board.
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The “Black” plane followed the original flight plan, north toward Laramie, Wyo., to gain altitude before crossing the Rockies. It landed in Logan.
Thirty-one people died as a result of the crash: 14 players, 14 WSU staff and boosters and three crew members. Eight players and one of the pilots survived.
THE CRASH VICTIMS
Marvin Brown, 19, Solomon, sophomore tailback
Don Christian, 20, Duncan, Okla., junior defensive back
John Duren, 19, Oklahoma City, sophomore end
Ron Johnson, 21, Kansas City, Mo., senior safety
Randy Kiesau, 20, Clinton, Okla., junior defensive back
Mal Kimmel, 21, St. Genevieve, Mo., senior center
Carl Krueger, 19, Chicago, sophomore tackle
Steve Moore, 21, Derby, senior linebacker
Tom Owen, 20, Temple Terrace, Fla., junior running back
Gene Robinson, 21, Dayton, Ohio, junior end
Tom Shedden, 20, Oklahoma City, junior tackle
Richard Stines, 19, Kansas City, Kan., sophomore guard
John Taylor, 21, Sherman, Texas, senior cornerback
Jack Vetter, 21, McPherson, senior tackle
WSU staff and boosters
Bert Katzenmeyer, 52, Wichita, athletic director
Marian Katzenmeyer, 52, Wichita, wife of athletic director
Ben Wilson, 44, Wichita, football coach
Helen Wilson, 44, Wichita, wife of coach
Tom Reeves, 31, Wichita, team trainer
Marty Harrison, 19, Argonia, head manager
Carl Fahrbach, 50, Wichita, dean of admissions
Floyd Farmer, 35, Wichita, ticket manager
Ray Coleman, 45, Wichita, chairman of Shocker Club
Maxine Coleman, 43, Wichita, wife of chairman
John Grooms, 42, Wichita ,won membership drive
Etta Mae Grooms, 38, Wichita, won membership drive
Ray King, 48, Hesston, state representative
Yvonne King, 41, Hesston, wife of state representative
Dan Crocker, 27, Oklahoma City, pilot
Judy Lane, 28, Oklahoma City, flight attendant
Judy Dunn, 39, Oklahoma City, flight attendant
THE 1970 SEASON
Sept. 12: Texas A&M 41, WSU 14
Sept. 19: Arkansas St. 53, WSU 14
Sept. 26: West Texas St. 43, WSU 0
Oct. 24: Arkansas 62, WSU 0
Oct. 31: Cincinnati 35, WSU 5
Nov. 7: Tulsa 21, WSU 12
Nov. 14: Memphis St. 51, WSU 6
Nov. 21: North Texas St. 41, WSU 24
Nov. 28: Louisville 34, WSU 24
The 1970 Wichita State University plane crash
Remembering the 31 people who died on Oct. 2, 1970 through the archives of The Wichita Eagle:
Those left behind mourned and built new lives | A beautiful fall day ... then an ominous sound | Pilot steadfast in denying fault: ‘Someone needed to be blamed’ | The years drive a wedge between survivors linked by tragedy |
Marvin Brown was Solomon’s favorite son | Daughter grew up without her ‘da-da’ | Complex connection for WSU survivors | Families never lose memories | Former Utah State player still feels linked to Shockers