Pilot's fault Buddy Holly never made it to Moorhead? NTSB may look again


More than 50 years after the plane crash that killed musician Buddy Holly, federal investigators may reopen the investigation into the accident.

A New England man who believes the pilot was wrongfully blamed for the 1959 crash tells the Mason City Globe Gazette the National Transportation Safety Board is considering his request for them to look again.

L.J. Croon – an experienced pilot himself – provided information to the board, whose reply reads in part, "You have gotten our attention. Let us do our due diligence in order to give you a proper answer," the Globe Gazette says.

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The plane took off from Mason City, Iowa on a snowy night, headed for the Red River Valley where Holly (below) and fellow rock 'n rollers Ritchie Valens and J.P. "the Big Bopper" Richardson were due to perform. All three musicians were killed, as was pilot Roger Peterson, when the plane went down in a farm field near Clear Lake, Iowa.

The investigation by the Civil Aeronautics Board found pilot error was the primary cause of the crash and named the weather as a secondary contributor.

Croon says weight and balance calculations, the rate of the aircraft's climb and descent, and the possible removal of a rudder pedal justify a new investigation.

The newspaper says it could take a year or more for the NTSB to make a decision on whether it will reopen the case.

According to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Buddy Holly's brother, Travis Holley, thinks "they ought to just leave it alone."

Buddy Holly's widow, Maria Elena Holly, told KCBD-TV she's not familiar with Croon's arguments or motives, but she wonders why it's taken the NTSB decades to revisit the case.

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