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1960s / Patsy Cline Plane Crash - 1963
Patsy Cline, one of the most influential female singers in country music history, was tragically killed in an airplane crash in Camden, TN on March 5, 1963. She was 30 years old. Her last performance had occurred two days earlier in Kansas City, KS at a benefit for the family of a popular radio deejay who had died in an automobile mishap in January. Cline's plane was headed towards Nashville, TN. After a stopover in Dyersburg, TN, the plane, a small Piper Comanche, took off for the final leg of the journey at 6:07 p.m. It vanished about 15 minutes later. Three other performers--Cowboy Copas, Hankshaw Hawkins, and Randy Hughes (the pilot)--also perished. The airplane encountered severe storm conditions which almost certainly contributed to the crash. It was later learned that Hughes was not trained for instrument flying and was likely trying to make an emergency landing on a nearby highway. Instead the plane crashed nose-first into a remote forested area. The wreckage was discovered by a Cline fan early the next morning who had searched for it after hearing radio reports that Cline's plane had likely gone down. The crash site has changed very little in the five decades since Cline's untimely death. According to friends, Cline sensed her impending doom, and made comments as early as September 1962 that she didn't expect to live much longer. Shortly before her death, Cline gave away treasured personal belongings and hastily wrote her will.