The National Transportation Safety Board is looking into a request to reopen the investigation of the Iowa plane crash that killed rockers Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson. The Civil Aeronautics Board ruled in 1959 that the most likely cause of the crash was pilot error. Snow was listed a secondary cause.
The Mason City (Iowa) Globe Gazette reported that the board has agreed to consider another investigation after receiving a letter from New England pilot L.J. Coon. He contended that there were other issues involving weight and balance calculations, the rate of the plane's climb and descent, fuel gauge readings and the passenger-side rudder. "You have gotten our attention," the NTSB said in a letter to Coon. "Let us do our due diligence in order to give you a proper answer."
Board spokesman Terry Williams told the Associated Press that fewer than 10 such requests are made annually for all modes of transportation, with less than 50 percent of cases reopened. An initial response to Coon's information will take about two months.
Gary W. Moore, who wrote a book about Holly, believes that the CAB made the right decision when it blamed the Feb. 3, 1959, crash on errors by pilot Roger Peterson, who also died. The plane crashed into a farm field less than four minutes after takeoff from Mason City en route to Fargo, N.D. The rest of the Winter Dance Party tour took a bus to Moorhead.