By: Beau Daniels
The 40th anniversary of the Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash last Friday enticed survivors to return to the site. The plane crashed in rural Mississippi, and with the help of locals an amazing 20 people survived out of the 26. The passing of lead singer Ronnie Van Zant was a brutal blow to the band that set idle for ten years until Ronnie’s brother Johnny took on the lead singer role. The loss of inspirational guitarist Steve Gaines, and his sister Cassie Gaines was tough also.
Mark Howard survived and returned to the site, “My buddy Marc Frank who was sitting at a table across from me on the plane, he got in touch with me and talked me into coming. At first, we weren’t going to come, but I said well it’s 40 years and we might not make 50 years as old as we are.”
Also returning to the site were some of the people who helped save lives including Jamie Wall, “I found someone on the ground alive. When I walked to the other side of the plane, I tripped on another person. I took out this hatchet, I heard some screaming. He (Mark Howard) was pinned in a hole of the plane. I chopped him out.” The scene was horrific, I got down and prayed, I said, ‘I need help, God, to deal with this.'”
There was also talk about a concert by the band near the site which, but I imagine the tackiness of that overshadowed the money.