March 5, 1963

On this day in 1963, Patsy Cline was killed in a plane crash.

After Cline’s performance at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas was finished she was offered a car ride back to Nashville (a 16 hour drive) after her plane was cancelled due to fog. Cline opted to wait for the fog to clear so she could catch the more convenient plane trip home.

Cline boarded the Piper PA-24 Comanche plane with three of her fellow musicians, Cowboy Copas, Hawkshaw Hawkins and Randy Hughes, the four entertainers were finally ready for take off at 6:07 p.m.

Cline’s flight crashed after confusion in the air and a mix of bad weather caused the plane to get lost in the clouds and eventually accelerate before plummeting to the ground, hitting an oak tree 30 feet above ground while the plane was in a 26-degree nose-down altitude. The propellor had severed the tree and the right wing subsequently struck another tree 32 feet to the right, causing the plane to become inverted, continuing downward at a 45° angle before it hit the ground 62 feet from the initial contact with the tree. Debris was strewn across an area 166 feet long and 130 feet wide.

Cline’s recovered wristwatch had stopped at 6:20 p.m. The plane was found some 90 miles (140 km) from its Nashville destination, in a forest outside Camden, Tennessee. Forensic examination concluded that everyone aboard had been killed instantly.

In a gross act of greed, souvenir hunters were on the scene to scavenge the area for the singer’s belongings. Cline’s money and dress from her last performance were never recovered.

Years later, parts of the plane were put up for auction on eBay for tens of thousands of dollars, having been stored for years in the barn of a local resident

. March5

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