Cal Poly plane crash: 50 years later
October 29, 2010
Cal Poly is planning a special memorial ceremony during Saturday’s football game against St. Francis University to mark the 50th anniversary of the plane crash that killed 16 players, the team manager, and an alumni booster. [LA Times]
Survivors of the historic plane crash, including Oakland Raiders passing coordinator Ted Tollner and Cuesta College president Dr. Gil Stork, as well as family members of players killed in the accident, are expected to participate.
The plane, a twin-engine C-46 Artic-Pacific charter, crashed attempting take-off from the Toledo airport around 11 p.m. on Oct. 29, 1960. The Cal Poly Mustangs had just been defeated 50-6 by Bowling Green in their furthest road trip from home.
There were 48 people on board and 22 died. The plane climbed 100 feet before the left engine failed, and then the right one. Take-off had been attempted in heavy fog with minimal visibility. Investigators later reported that the plane was 2,000 pounds overweight.
Five women were widowed and 11 children lost fathers in the crash. Ray Porras, 27, the oldest player killed, left behind four young daughters–all four women will be at Saturday’s game.
The Mustangs came back the next year for a six-game season. The team didn’t fly to a road game for nine years after the crash.
Cal Poly built a special memorial plaza directly next to the football stadium in 2006, where there are 18 pillars, one for each man associated with the team.
All in the shape of a huddle