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OSU mourns loss of plane crash victims

Jan. 30, 2001

2 basketball players, 6 team staff members die in weekend tragedy


Staff Writer

A scenario somewhat like the tragedy of the Immortal Ten has been unfolding at Oklahoma State University campus, where the campus is mourning the loss of their friends and colleagues who were tragically killed Saturday in a plane crash 40 miles east of Denver.

'They are dealing with a great grief and trying to find the positives that can come through it,' said Student Body President Jon Rolph.

The team plane was flying back to Oklahoma after a Big 12 conference game against the Colorado Buffaloes when the twin-engine plane crashed, killing two Oklahoma State basketball players and six team staff members.

The victims were Oklahoma State players Nate Fleming and Daniel Lawson; sports information employee Will Hancock; director of basketball operations Pat Noyes; trainer Brian Luinstra; broadcast engineer Kendall Durfey; broadcaster Bill Teegins; pilot Denver Mills; and co-pilot Bjorn Falistrom.

Student manager Jared Weiberg, the nephew of Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg, also died in the crash.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration the crash occurred during a snowstorm when visibility was only about 1.5 miles.

The Associated Press reported that John Hammerschmidt, head of the National Transportation Safety Board crash investigation team, said they will investigate to see if the plane was de-iced before it took off.

The crew was told before departure that ice could form on the wings, but that it was not bad enough to ground the plane.

This tragedy has sparked reactions at Baylor. This month is the 75th anniversary of the 10 members of the Baylor basketball team who were killed in an accident on Jan. 23, 1927.

The bus carrying the team, en route to the University of Texas, was hit by a train at a railroad crossing near Round Rock. Only 12 of the 22 passengers survived.

Scott Stricklin, Baylor assistant athletic director, said the recent Oklahoma tragedy is ironic in its resemblance to the situation that occurred at Baylor.

'It touches everyone in the athletic department,' Stricklin said.

Stricklin, who knew two of the victims, said the families need prayer at this time.

'You know a name, a face and a voice,' he said.

'Events like this remind all of us of the greatest priorities of life, and that for educational institutions and athletic conferences, our first priorities go far beyond the winning and losing of games but to the deepest priorities of families and friendships and the pursuit of truth and wisdom, even in the face of tragedy,' President Robert B. Sloan Jr. said in a statement.

Sympathy cards have been sent to Oklahoma State, as well as encouraging phone calls. The athletic department is looking into the possibility of sending a group of students to the memorial service being held on Wednesday afternoon in Oklahoma.

'We understand what they are going through,' said Rolph.

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