Fifty-six years ago, three of early rock's brightest stars died in a plane crash that was blamed on pilot error and a bad weather report; there's also been a rumor that a gun was found among the wreckage near Iowa's Clear Lake. Now, thanks to a New England man's sleuthing, the story of the death of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and JP "Big Bopper" Richardson could get a fresh look, the Des Moines Register reports. The National Transportation Safety Board's "cases are never closed," says an official, and new information from LJ Coon has "gotten our attention," the board says. Now the board will consider reopening its inquiry into what happened on what "American Pie" singer Don McLean called "the day the music died."
"I believe that the NTSB will review pilot [Roger] Peterson's diagnostic actions in the aircraft during this 3.5-minute flight and realize the heroic efforts that took place in those 4.9 miles," says Coon, who says he's a retired pilot and FAA test proctor. He argues that it's possible that a problem with the plane's rudder pedals or fuel gauge could have been involved in the crash; there may also have been issues with weight distribution. It could be some time before we hear much, however: It could take up to a year for the NTSB to decide whether to act on Coon's petition, the Globe Gazette reports. In the meantime, the author of a book on Holly isn't sold. "I think that what they are going to find [is] pretty simple. The pilot was unqualified to fly in those conditions and he lost control of the airplane," Gary Moore tells the Globe Gazette.