Kenova, WV Marshall University Football Team Airplane Crash, Nov 1970
At a makeshift treatment center in the school's physical education building, doctors and nurses treated students in shock.
"Alex, please come back ... please come back," a coed screamed as she lay on one of 100 mattresess[sic] set up in the center.
"God, what has happened?" another coed cried.
In hallways outside, the football coaches secretaries sat staring and crying. Most of their bosses were aboard the twin-engine jet. Head Coach RICK TOLLEY, and athletic director CHARLES KAUTZ, were among the dead.
At a nearby hospital, citizens and students were ushered to a conference room. They had come late in the night looking, hoping, for survivors.
At least 10 of them crumpled to the floor when the cordoned-off hospital, primed for caring for survivors, remained quiet.
Three were no injured.
Three prominent Huntington physicians -“ DR. RAY HAGLEY, a past president of the Marshall alumni association; DR. H. D. PROCTOR and DR. JOSEPH CHAMBERS - were aboard the plane with their wives. So were DR. GLENN H. PRESTON, a well known Huntington dentist, and his wife.
Other passengers included Huntington city Councilman MURRILL RALSTEN and his wife, and MICHAEL PRESTERA, a executive who was elected Nov. 3 to the West Virginia Legislature.
The coaches, players and boosters who died were among those who, in the last two years, had rallied in support of Marshall. It was a tough two-year period - when the school went 27 games without a victory, was expelled from its conference for recruiting violations, and saw its head coach removed for alleged irregularities.
It was those people who had spearheaded drives that raised $150,000 for scholarship funds and pressured the West Virginia Legislature into releasing $1 million for an artificial playing surface.
At the airport at nearby Kenova, the wife of television sportscaster KEN JONES and their three children were in the crowd awaiting the return of the chartered plane.
They waited and watched in the cold night air as the big jet lazily circled beneath low, dark rain clouds, making its final approach.
Their gaze turned to horror when the jet disappeared behind a hill, followed by a brilliant flash and a mushroom of black smoke.
In Charleston, newsmen awaited another telephone call from JEFF NATHAN, sports editor of Marshall's student newspaper. He had called the Sunday Gazette-Mail sports desk earlier after the game from Greenville, N. C., and gave sketchy accounts of the action.
But he said he had to hurry. "I don't have too much time. Our plane is leaving right away and I'll have to hurry." He added as he hung up, "The plane is leaving, I'll call when we land."
From a Huntington telephone booth Saturday night, RICH TAGLANG, a junior football player, told his parents in Bethlehem, Pa., that he was alive.
TAGLANG was late Friday when the plane departed for Greenville and he missed the trip.
"I'm alive,' he sobbed into the telephone. "Nobody else is ... they're all dead."
The Charleston Gazette West Virginia 1970-11-16
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