Moment of Indiana History

Flight, Interrupted

While the 1977 plane crash that killed the University of Evansville basketball team is infamous, Indiana has been the site of several notable air disasters.

Allegheny Airlines plane crash, Shelby County, 1969

Photo: Joe Young, Indy Star News Staff Photo

Eight three people died when this Allegheny Airlines DC-9 collided with a Piper Cherokee over Shelby County.

While the 1977 plane crash that killed the University of Evansville basketball team is one of the most infamous, Indiana has been the site of several notable air disasters.

The state’s deadliest crash occurred in Shelby County in 1969, when a student-piloted Piper Cherokee collided mid-air with an Allegheny Airlines DC-9 en route from Cincinnati to Indianapolis. 83 people were killed in the crash, allegedly caused by deficiencies in the collision avoidance capability of air traffic control.

Nine years earlier, Northwest Orient Flight 710 out of Chicago crashed near the Kentucky border in Cannelton, killing all 63 people on board. Witnesses say the right wing of the Lockheed Electra en route to Miami appeared to separate from the plane just before it went down.

The most recent crash involving a commercial airliner in Indiana took place Halloween Night 1994 near the northwest Indiana town of Roselawn. An American Eagle ATR-72 waiting for clearance to land at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport developed a ridge of ice on its wings, causing it to bank right and the pilot to lose control. The plane crashed in a soybean field, killing all 68 on board.

An NTSB report blamed the crash on a design flaw and later prohibited the plane’s use in areas where icing may occur. A memorial sits near the rural site of the disaster.

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