Private Tuesday December 31, 1985
The plane crash landed into a field and struck a pole then continued into trees after dense smoke filled the plane and cockpit. The fire most likely started in a defective cabin heater but was not determined for sure. Singer Rick Nelson, 45, fiancée Helen Blair, 27, soundman Clark Russell and the members of his back-up group The Stone Canyon Band, Andy Chapin, 20, Rick Intveld, 22, Bobby Neal, 38, and Patrick Woodward, 35 were killed. Both pilots survived after climbing out the cockpit windows. Nelson had purchased the DC-3 in May 1985 from Jerry Lee Lewis and the craft had been forced to make two emergency landings in the previous six months. Nelson and his band were en route to perform at the half-time festivities at the Cotton Bowl.