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What Happened To Lynyrd Skynyrd Band? Plane Crashed Killed 4 Band Members Including Ronnie Van Zant

Lynyrd Skynyrd is a Florida-based American rock band. Before settling on “Lynyrd Skynyrd” in 1969, the band spent five years touring small venues under various names and with various lineup changes.

The band’s first album, released in 1973, featured bassist Leon Wilkeson, keyboardist Billy Powell, and guitarist Ed King.

What Happened To Lynyrd Skynyrd Band?

Lynyrd Skynyrd played at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium in Greenville, three days after their album Street Survivors album on October 20, 1977.

They boarded a Convair CV-240 plane bound for Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for a performance at Louisiana State University. Near the end of the flight, the plane’s fuel ran out.

When the pilots realized they didn’t have enough fuel, they attempted to navigate to McComb Airport, but quickly realized they wouldn’t make it.

The plane attempted an emergency landing in an open field about 300 yards from where the plane eventually went down as a last resort.

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Plane Crashed Killed 4 Lynyrd Skynyrd Band Members 

On October 20, 1977, a plane transporting the band from Greenville, South Carolina, to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, ran out of fuel near Gillsburg, Mississippi.

Passengers were warned about potential problems with the Convair CV-240 and told to brace themselves for a crash.

Ronnie Van Zant died from head injuries sustained when the plane collided with a tree. Steve Gaines and Cassie Gaines were also killed, as were assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary, and co-pilot William Gray. The remainder of the band was critically injured.

Following the accident, the NTSB removed, inspected, and tested the right engine’s ignition magneto, determining that “no mechanical or electrical discrepancies were discovered during the examination of the right magneto.” 

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Lynyrd Skynyrd Lead Vocalist Ronnie Van Zant And Others Were Among Who Died

Ed King recalls the intense sadness of Ronnie Van Zant’s funeral, noting that attendees were falling with grief. Ronnie was laid to rest in 1977 in Orange Park, Florida.

On June 29, 2000, vandals broke into his and bandmate Steve Gaines’ tombs. His casket was removed and thrown to the ground. Their mausoleums in Orange Park are still open to the public as memorials.

Steve was cremated and buried in Orange Park, Florida, in 1977, but Steve’s ashes were moved to an undisclosed location after vandals broke into his and Ronnie’s tombs on June 29, 2000.

A Craigslist ad accidentally revealed their interment’s new location ten years later. A family was selling two plots they had decided not to keep posted an ad on Craigslist stating that the plots were in the Jacksonville Memory Gardens Cemetery in Orange Park, Florida, next to Van Zant’s tomb.

Cassie survived the initial collision but died as rescuers attempted to reach the scene and remove the victims for medical treatment. According to survivor Billy Powell’s controversial claims, he died from deep lacerations in Powell’s arms after the accident. Cassie was laid to rest in Orange Park, Florida.

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