The Day The Music Died: Buddy Holly Death To Be Re-Investigated?

The death of Buddy Holly on February 3, 1959, is regarded as a seminal moment in music history. But the circumstances surrounding the plane crash that resulted in his untimely passing might not quite be as clear cut as previously assumed.

In fact, a petition has now been started that those involved hope will result in the National Transportation Safety Board re-investigating the crash that killed that the 22-year-old icon, as well as the other singers Ritchie Valens, J.P. Richardson, and pilot Roger Peterson.

buddy holly plane crash investigation may be reopened

The passengers and pilot were looking to travel from Mason City, Iowa, to Moorhead, Minnesota, as part of a tour that they were all on.

However, shortly after take-off, the chartered plane crashed into a field, killing everyone on board. The plane was only in the air for less than four minutes before it crashed.

Shortly after the tragedy, the Civil Aeronautics Board ruled that the cause of the crash was purely the responsibility of Roger Peterson. It was officially ruled that pilot error in the midst of inclement weather was the reason.

However, over 55 years after the crash, L.J Coon, an experienced pilot who hails from New England, has started a petition to reopen the investigation into the crash because he believes that a number of other factors were the cause.

According to The Globe Gazette, via Daily Mail, Coon believes that the weight and balance of the aircraft, the rate of its climb and descent, fuel gauge readings, and the passenger-side rudder could all have contributed to the crash.

Coon was inspired to start this petition because he wants to expunge the theory that Peterson was responsible for the crash. Instead, he wants to pay tribute and commemorate “the heroic effort that took place in those 4.9 miles” by the pilot.

And because of Coon’s pursuit, The National Transportation Safety Board have decided to re-investigate the crash. Coon received a letter from the NTSB explaining, “You have gotten our attention. Let us do our due diligence in order to give you a proper answer.”

However, while speaking to the Globe Gazette, Gary W. Moore who authored the book, Hey Buddy, about Buddy Holly’s life believes that this new investigation will have the same result as the previous.

“I think that what [a new investigation] is going to find is pretty simple. The pilot was unqualified to fly in these conditions and he lost control of the airplane.”

The death of Buddy Holly was immortalized by Don McLean with the classic 1971 song, “American Pie.”