Southern Airways Flight 932

Southern Airways Flight 932
Southern Airways DC-9 (6146173132).jpg
A Southern Airways Douglas DC-9 similar to the aircraft involved in the accident
DateNovember 14, 1970
SummaryControlled flight into terrain (CFIT)
SiteWayne County, near Ceredo, West Virginia, United States
38°22′27″N 82°34′42″W / 38°22′27″N 82°34′42″W / 38.37417; -82.57833
Aircraft typeDouglas DC-9-31
OperatorSouthern Airways
Flight originKinston Regional Jetport
DestinationTri-State Airport

Southern Airways Flight 932 was a chartered Southern Airways Douglas DC-9 domestic United States commercial jet flight from Stallings Field (ISO) in Kinston, North Carolina, to Huntington Tri-State Airport/Milton J. Ferguson Field (HTS) near Kenova and Ceredo, West Virginia. At 7:36 p.m. on November 14, 1970, the aircraft crashed into a hill just short of the Tri-State Airport, killing all 75 people on board in what has been recognized as "the worst sports related air tragedy in U.S. history".[1] [2]

The plane was carrying 37 members of the Marshall University Thundering Herd football team, eight members of the coaching staff, 25 boosters, and five flight crew members.[3] The team was returning home after a 17–14 loss to the East Carolina Pirates at Ficklen Stadium in Greenville, North Carolina.[4]

At the time, Marshall's athletic teams rarely traveled by plane, since most away games were within easy driving distance of the campus. The team originally planned to cancel the flight, but changed plans and chartered the Southern Airways DC-9.[5] The accident is the deadliest tragedy affecting any sports team in U.S. history.[6] It was the second college football team plane crash in a little over a month. Wichita State's team plane crashed in Colorado just 43 days earlier killing 14 players and 31 people overall.


The aircraft was a 95-seat, twin jet engine Douglas DC-9-30 with tail registration N97S. The airliner's crew was Captain Frank H. Abbot, 47; First Officer Jerry Smith, 28; and flight attendants Pat Vaught and Charlene Poat. All were qualified for the flight. Another employee of Southern Airways, Danny Deese, was aboard the flight to coordinate charter activities. This flight was the only flight that year for the Marshall University football team.[2]