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Visiting the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash Sight
on the 40th Anniversary of the Plane Crash
Survivors & Recuers Come Together on October 20, 2017
Pictures Courtesy of Mike Rounsaville & Friends at the 40th Anniversary
Southern Tribute
Lynyrd Skynyrd
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.....In my mind, there are two kind of folks in this world, those of us that got to grow up in the deep south, below the Mason-Dixon Line --- and those that wish
they had. And, to that you can add --- those of us that grew up in an era when Lynyrd Skynyrd were at the top of their game. We proved all this to be true, this
past Friday, as about a hundred people or so came to the site in Amite County, Mississippi, near the town of Gillsburg, whereas all that ended in one night, on
OCT 20, 1977. All due to one fatal, air crash disaster, that claimed the lives of three band members, a road manager, and both pilots. However, due to the
quick thinking and actions of local volunteers, and medical personnel, of all the twenty-six on board, twenty of those left --- survived. We all came to celebrate
40 years gone by on OCT 20, 2017, and pay tribute to the survivors, the dead, and reunite some of the survivors, with the rescue party.
.....I told my friend and reporter for the Clarion Ledger, Justin Vicory, as we hopped into my pickup, for my third or fourth trip down to the site, to guide another
tour of people that came to see it, " hey dude, you know, this is the day to be here --- not tomorrow, on October 21st, or even the 22nd. Today, we
are involved in a small part of history..." He said, " Mike, you're absolutely right, and, it's gonna be in the Clarion on Sunday, and now that we're affiliated with
USA TODAY, my article will go nationwide...." And it did, just like he said it would. As far as WLBT, Channel 3, out of Jackson, Miss. showing up, I don't know
what happened there..?? The girl with news crew management, for the station, called myself and Dwain both, on the Thursday, prior to the 20th, and told us
they were coming --- unless some other breaking news didn't take them away. Well, thank you, typical, North Jackson, Miss. for having another shooting,
killing, armed robbery, or average ghetto crap that pulled them to cover that story. ⚔️�� Whatever it was....they never showed up.....??? �� Oh, well...I think
Justin did a great job on his news story. Also, credit to reporters Scott Boyd: sorry, didn't catch the name of your affiliated newspaper......and Matt Williamson,
of the Enterprise-Journal of McComb, for making the scene to cover the story. And the live radio show...?? Yeah, they came out and did a great job on the
music. Mark Irish and Jason couldn't bring their tech man and his equipment, to do the live feed through the internet, so, we all there were the only ones to
hear it. I'd say all-in-all we batted a .500 to.600.... like a TV evangelist --- we were at least a half-ass on promise and coverage. wink emoticon;-) ��
.....Now as far as the spectrum of people that showed up..?? Wow..!! ����There was a couple that came all the way from Italy...����️ and some more people
from England....����️. That's the couple from Italy in the picture with my Confederate flag. I asked them, " when we found y'all out there on the road, you had
found out already, where it was, by GPS and the internet....but you didn't plan on seeing and finding all this, did you...?? " And they replied, " no way...
we didn't even expect to have access to it all.." We had people there of all races, religions, and denominations. Yeah, I was kind of shocked, but they never
stopped filming or taking pictures. If they were from Louisiana, especially New Orleans, you can bet they were Catholic, so they fit right in on the " like-to-drink
-- a lot, part...." tongue emoticon:-P�������� There was a couple that came dressed for a Halloween party, as you can see them in that pic with Mark in their
purple and yellow LSU colors. I looked out through the woods at them, (almost spit my beer out) and said, " What-In-The-Helll...?? " And, when they walked up
to me and said, " we're on our way to a costume party..." I pointed north and said, " the LSU/ Ole Miss game is tomorrow night, up my way, in Oxford...did y'all
miss a turn or something, off I-55..??? They laughed and said, " no, we just wanted to come on the 40th to the site...on the way to the party..." I came back
with, " it's already happening now --- got an extra beer..?? " smile emoticon:-) We had so many people roll through, from all walks of life, and we didn't charge
any of them a dime. A great crowd, with Marc B Frank from South Carolina, and Mark Howard from Texas, of the band's road crew back in '77. They are both
survivors of that crash, and wanted to meet everyone, especially Dwain Easley, Jamie D Wall, and Brenda Martin, who were some of the first to respond to the
situation.
.....Whenever I'd take another batch down for another tour..." My Kids " as I called them that day, would tag along. They'd go rustling in the leaves around the
impact zone, like a bunch of annoying grey squirrels, on a dry, opening morning of deer season, and find another part or two of the plane. At day's end they
had found over ten to twelve pieces. You can see them in that pic with the hatchet. I changed their names later to " My Comanche/ Cherokee Scouts ". I been
pokin' around down there almost three years, and ain't found crap but a Pepsi can. frown emoticon:-( ��
..... As you can see, all had a great time. I hope I did good on the tour guide part, I didn't ask for the job, just some of the locals had other obligations and had
to leave early. Dwain had to stay up top and cook, so, it got bestowed upon myself and Jamie, to fill in. They made me do the carving in the tree, to
commemorate the 40th, that I think mostly everyone that day carved their name in that tree, also. I just told and showed what all of them involved, had shown
and taught me in the last three years ---- learning about the whole story, and how it unfolded that night. At least I'll say my tour patrons were kind and gracious
to their guide --- they kept him in a good supply of adult refreshments.
Mike Rounsaville at the Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash site on the 40th Anniversary
USA Today Newspaper covered the 40th Anniversary
The late
Steve Gaines,
Dean Kilpatrick.
Ronnie VanZant
& Cassie Gaines
The Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash (from Wikipedia)
Following a performance at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium in Greenville, South Carolina, on October 20, 1977, the band boarded a chartered Convair
CV-300 bound for Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where they were scheduled to appear at LSU the following night. Due to a faulty engine, the airplane ran low on
fuel and the pilots were diverted to the McComb-Pike County Airport. After running out of fuel they attempted an emergency landing before crashing in
a heavily forested area five miles northeast of Gillsburg, Mississippi. Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines, along with backup singer Cassie Gaines
(Steve's older sister), assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary, and co-pilot William Gray were killed on impact; other band members
(Collins, Rossington, Wilkeson, Powell, Pyle, and Hawkins), tour manager Ron Eckerman, and several road crew suffered serious injuries.

The accident came just three days after the release of Street Survivors. Following the crash and the ensuing press, Street Survivors became the band's
second platinum album and reached No. 5 on the U.S. album chart. The single "What's Your Name" reached No. 13 on the single charts in 1978. The original
cover sleeve for Street Survivors had featured a photograph of the band, particularly Steve Gaines, engulfed in flames. Out of respect for the deceased
(and at the request of Teresa Gaines, Steve's widow), MCA Records withdrew the original cover and replaced it with the album's back photo, a similar image
of the band against a simple black background. Thirty years later, for the deluxe CD version of Street Survivors, the original "flames" cover was restored.

Lynyrd Skynyrd disbanded after the tragedy, reuniting only on one occasion to perform an instrumental version of "Free Bird" at Charlie Daniels'
Volunteer Jam V in January 1979. Collins, Rossington, Powell, and Pyle performed the song with Charlie Daniels and members of his band.
Leon Wilkeson, who was still undergoing physical therapy for his badly broken left arm, was in attendance, along with Judy VanZant & Teresa Gaines.
Survivor Marc B. Frank Plane Crash Interview
Marc B. Frank of Spartanburg, one of Lynyrd's Skynyrd's road crew was on the
plane and one of the 20 survivors, he talked a few years ago about his story:
And, it mentions our Tennessee Concerts website for more info. (at the bottom of page).
From Spartanburg South Carolina's Classic Rock Radio 101.1
Lynyrd Skynyrd Survivors & Rescuers
Return to the Crash site after 40 years  
This is My visit to Gillsburg Mississippi With Marc Frank,survivor, Drum Tech. To meet with
3 of the First responders to The plane crash as well as Mark Howard ,Lynyrd Skynyrd's
light Tech who was also on the plane with Marc that night Oct. 20 1977.
I am Still blown away by the opportunity to be there on the day 40 years later. It was such
an Honor as well a blessing to witness such an even that played such a big part of
Rock & Roll History. I'll never forget my First trip to Mississippi EVER, and you can put
money on that. There was so much love and comfort abound in Gillsburg that sunny
afternoon. Many thanks to Everyone who came by to spend this special day together.
To the first respondents, it was such an honor to meet local Mississippi Heroes who acted
without a second thought and helped those you could. Really and truly, Thank you for a
bit of restoring my faith in Humanity.
Video by Julian Haney
Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash Radio Report
on the evening of October 20, 1977
Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash Story
1979: Lynyrd Skynyrd back on stage again
after the plane crash doing Freebird (instrumental)
w/ members of the Charlie Daniels Band in Nashville
Members of the CDB and Lynyrd Skynyrd perform an instrumental of the Skynyrd anthem,
"Free Bird" at Volunteer Jam V at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, TN on January 13, 1979.
The Jam was the first time the surviving members of Skynyrd had performed
together since before the tragic crash that claimed the lives of both pilots,
guitarist Steve Gaines and his sister (and Honkette) Cassie, roadie Dean Kilpatrick  
Julian Haney carves
on the plane crash sight
tribute tree.
See Julian's
video from this day (below)
Mike Rounsaville photographs possible plane remnants found. Mike helped out at the crash site on this 40th Anniversary
A tree trump,
left over from
the plane crash
The Tribute Tree
Most everyone that
comes here, sign's the tree
Survivors, first responders and Lynyrd Skynyrd  fans
walk at the spot where the plane crashed in 1977.
Mark Howard (survivor), Dwain Easley (rescuer)
& Marc. B. Frank (survivor) on this 40th Anniversary
Crash survivor
and Drum Tech
Marc B. Frank
carves on the tree
Crash survivor
MarK Howard
carves on the tree
Mike Rounsaville
carves on the tree
Dwain Easley (rescuer), Marc B. Frank (survivor),
Mark Howard (survivor) and Jamie D. Wall (rescuer)
talk about the night of the tragic plane crash
Carved by Mike Rounsaville
Brenda Martin (ex-wife of Johnny Mote) & Family.
She is pictured next to Marc B. Frank
(right)
Mark Howard displays
a commemorative
Lynyrd Skynyrd bottle of
Jack Daniels Whiskey that
he still has, given to the
crew on that tour
Mark Howard's display
of Lynyrd Skynyrd items
related to the tour & crash
Menalia & Andre came all
the way from Tuscani Italy
to be here on this day.
Others, came from England
The plane crash sight area
The area of the plane crash sight
Mark Howard with more fans that showed up.
These were on their way to a Halloween party
Related Video's
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Tennessee Concerts Editor- Pat Adams / Email: pat@tennesseeconcerts.com
Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash Site Draws A Pilgrimage (video)
The site of the 1977 Lynyrd Skynyrd tour plane crash has drawn
visitors over the years. Tuesday October 20, 2015 marked the 38th
Anniversary and drew several veterans from the night of the crash
2017 - A new Interview with Gary Rossington
Gary Rossington - New Interview - 13 October 2017 - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Tom Wills interviews Gary Rossington - Extended Interview
At the 40th Anniversary of the Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash.