Private Charter Thursday September 20, 1973
The plane crashed into a tree 200 yards past the end of the runway while taking off from Natchitoches, Louisiana Municipal Airport. A witness to the crash reported that the plane never seemed to gain any altitude. It scraped the top of a pecan tree, catching a wing and crashed to the ground. Pilot failed to see/avoid objects, obstructions. Pilot had severe coronary artery disease. Ran 3 miles from motel to airport. May have had a heart attack. Singer Jim Croce, 30, killed. Also killed were accompanist Maurice Muehleisen, publicist Kenny Cortese, road manager Dennis Rast, comedian George Stevens and pilot Robert Elliot. Croce's company had just completed a performance before a crowd of 2,000 at Northwest State University.