Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Memorial Stadium Plane Crash

PhotobucketOn December 19, 1976, just minutes after the conclusion of an NFL playoff game with the Pittsburgh Steelers, a small plane buzzed the stadium, and then crashed into the upper rows of the upper tier of seating. Fortunately for the fans, the Steelers had won the game handily (40-14), and most of the fans had already exited the stadium by the time the game ended. There were no serious injuries, and the pilot was arrested for violating plane safety regulations.

13 comments:

casheasy2004 said...

I was ten years old and watched this game. Then I remember tuning into to watch the Rams vs Cowboys on CBS and there was Brent Musberger telling us of a plane crash. Incredibly, no casualties!!! I googled up this plane crash and your blog came up first lol. Good stuff.

Anonymous said...

I was at that game. It was the first game my father ever took me to. As we were pulling out of Memorial stadium's parking lot, we hear, on AM radio, the announcer panicked and yelling about the plane crash. I'll never forget that game, I was 9 years old.

Anonymous said...

Great story on this:
http://www.check-six.com/Crash_Sites/N6276J-Kroner.htm

Anonymous said...

I remember hearing about this on the news that night. I don't remember the game though. I didn't start watching football on television until the 1978 season.

Mrwirez said...

I remember this, I also was ten.. I totally forgot about it, until an article today in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Steelers vs Ravens game today:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11310/1187621-66.stm

PS. This was the BEST Steelers team ever, imo.. I truly believe they would have won their third Superbowl in a row, if Franco and Rocky were not hurt!! Btw, today the Steelers will beat the Ravens 27-16
GO Steelers!

BT 460 said...

I was 16 at the time, at the game and still have my ticket stub. Lower Section 17 Row 10 Seat 11. $12 was the price...Heading to Seattle this weekend to see my first NFL Game since then. Ravens vs. Seahawks, I will be wearing Purple & Black

Anonymous said...

I'm a Steelers fan, was 21 years old at the time and was at this game. We were still in the stadium walking across the field when the plane first came in the stadium crossing midfield and exiting the stadium safely. It then veered right and came through the stadium over the 1 goal post still descending as it hit the 50 yard line as it began to ascend we just looked at each other and said he's going to crash. It was pretty upsetting at the time because we could not tell if it hit people still in the stadium. Fortunately, no one was hurt because it makes for a great story to tell 35 years later. Yes, the Steelers dominated but unfortunately lost several running backs that game and played the Raiders next week with 1 healthy back or it would have probably been another super bowl win.

David said...

I was a Baltimore City Police officer and was assigned to the upper deck, two sections over from the crash. My partner, the late Off. Walter Mcgovern ( same name as the politician) and I were astonished when the plane first buzzed the stadium then swung around and tried to land on the field. The pilot saw he could not make it and pulled the plane up but it was too late. The pilot was Donald Kroner, an MTA bus driver and private pilot. He was kicked out of the Iron Horse Restaurant for being drunk and disorderly the Friday night before the game. On Saturday, he rented the plane and threw rolls of toilet paper all over the restaurant and the parking lot in protest. The next day, Sunday, he tried to land the plane on the stadium field. I actually knew the guy, he sucker punched my liottle brother when we were kids and my friend and I beat the crap out of him.

Anonymous said...

I was 12 in at that game but had left the stadium before the plane crashed there were numerous fights between Baltimore and Pittsburgh fans in the game was decided midway through the 3rd quarter when the Baltimore fans felt that they might be losing the game on the field but they were gonna lose the game in the stands as well and I can a 12 fights in just our section alone

Joe Cool said...

I was at this game too! I was 12 and had LOVED the Steelers my whole life (All 12 years!!!) My dad had surprised me with tickets to the game. It was my first Steelers game. Too bad Franco Harris got hurt, or the Steelers may have beaten the Raiders the next week. Anyway we watched the whole game, we sat in the open end of the stadium, sideline seats (Right field area for baseball). After the game we sat there for a while as the crowd (What was left, because many had left early because the Steelers had command of the game from beginning to end)left. When the crowd had just about gone, we got up to leave. As soon as we made it halfway down the ramp (tunnel) from the seating area we felt the stadium shake/rumble. Shortly after all of the police in the area started running back up the ramp/tunnel into the stadium. We never saw the plane crash. We felt the rumble/shaking but did not know what it was at the time. Nor did we know why all of a sudden all those police started running back up the ramp/tunnel into the stadium. We exited the stadium and walked past the front of the stadium and looked up where those HUGE letters MEMORIAL STADIUM were at the top of the stadium. We noticed smoke coming up from the other side of the wall (the inside of the stadium) When we got back to the car and turned on the radio, we found out that a plane had crashed into the upper deck. As it turns out, we had missed seeing the crash by minutes, if not seconds. That sure would have been something to see. I can still remember seeing those police coming from everywhere running back up the ramp/tunnel into the stadium. I have searched and searched for years to find this game on video (Tape or DVD). Unfortunately so far my search has turned up nothing. If you have or know anyone who has this game on video, please let me know. I do have the radio play by play (Chuck Thompson, Vince Bagley, and Art Donovan)the tape contains the complete game and the post game including the plane crash. I listen to it often. But I truly wish I could find the game on video. This game meant so much to me because it was my first Steelers game and the plane crash afterward just makes it that more interesting. I hope someone reading this has the game on video!

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Anonymous said...

I just learned about this crazy story. amazing that no one--including the pilot--was killed.

Anonymous said...

This game is on YouTube now:

https://youtu.be/VOVSe9mlKfU