Buddy Holly plane crash: U.S. safety officials reviewing petition to re-open case

Federal safety investigators are reviewing a request to reopen a probe into the 1959 airplane crash that killed musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper.

Iconic 1959 crash killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper

From left, American rock and roll legends Ritchie Valens, 17, Buddy Holly, 22, and J.P. 'Big Bopper' Richardson, 28, who died in a small-plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, in 1959. The National Transportation Safety Board said it was reviewing a petition Wednesday to reopen the investigation into the crash. (File/AP Photo)

U.S. transportation safety investigators said on Wednesday they are reviewing a request to reopen a probe into the 1959 airplane crash that killed musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P. Richardson, better known as "The Big Bopper," and their pilot.

The original investigation 56 years ago conducted by the Civil Aeronautics Board blamed the crash on the pilot's decision to embark on an instrument-guided flight he was not certified for and, secondarily, on poor weather briefing.

The NTSB received a request recently from pilot L.J. Coon to reconsider the decision, the Mason City Globe Gazette reported.

"We are reviewing the petition to reconsider the Buddy Holly crash, based on criteria in our regs," the National Transportation Safety Board said.

Petitions must be based on the discovery of new evidence or on a showing that the findings are erroneous and not on previously advanced positions, according to NTSB regulations.

Holly and the others had just completed a concert in Clear Lake, Iowa, on Feb. 2, 1959 and because they had experienced bus trouble on the tour, opted to charter a small airplane to the next tour date in Moorhead, Minnesota.

The airplane crashed shortly after taking off from nearby Mason City, Iowa, early the next morning, killing the musicians and pilot Roger Peterson, 21.


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