Marshall community honors the 75 lost in MU plane crash

The Marshall University community gathered Tuesday on campus to remember the 75 lives lost in the MU plane crash on Nov. 14, 1970.
Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 6:25 PM EST
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Tuesday marked the 53rd anniversary of the tragic event that has shaped the Marshall University community.

The school came together to honor the 75 football players, coaches, and community members killed in the Southern Airways Flight 932 crash.

A tradition of turning off the fountain at the Memorial Student Center on the crash anniversary continued in honor of all the lives lost Nov. 14, 1970 -- a day that forever changed the Huntington community.

“This day is personal for all of us, and our stories have become their legacy,” said Marshall University President Brad Smith. “November 14th is intertwined in the fabric of Marshall University.”

On that fateful day, Flight 932, headed back from a game against East Carolina University, crashed just short of Tri-State Airport in Wayne County, West Virginia. It remains the worst sports-related aviation crash in U.S. history.

Tuesday’s ceremony brought out Marshall community members to honor and mourn the loss of the 75 -- with special seats reserved for their families.

Daniel Norrell, brother of MU player Pat Norrell who died in the crash, said, “This always brings back that night. I was only about 105 miles away in Lewisburg, I can still remember when I heard the news -- a complete chill went all the way up my spine and made my hair stand on end.”

Daniel, who remembered all the lives lost, had special thoughts for his brother, who was only 23 years old.

“Thinking about Pat, I never want to forget him,” he said. “I hope, even in my old age and I sometimes forget my own name, that I never forget him.”

In its 53rd year, the memory still lives on to everyone -- no matter their connection to the story.

And for Ethan Taylor, a freshman at Marshall University whose cousin died in the crash, this ceremony means more to him.

“We are now carrying the torch to pass on to continue keeping Marshall football alive,” Taylor said.