UPDATE | Memorial service honors 1970 Marshall plane crash victims

On Nov. 14, 1970, 36 football players and 39 coaches, administrators, community leaders, fans and crew died when the team's chartered jet returning from a game at East Carolina crashed into a hill just short of the airport. (Source: Marshall University)
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP/WSAZ) -- UPDATE 11/14/19 @ 12:27 p.m.
Students, alumni, staff, and other members of the Thundering Herd community gathered Thursday afternoon to honor the 75 lives lost in a 1970 plane crash involving Marshall University's football team.

The Marshall Memorial Student Center's fountain was turned off during the annual memorial service and will remain silent until spring.

On Nov. 14, 1970, 36 football players and 39 coaches, administrators, community leaders, fans and crew died when the team's chartered jet returning from a game at East Carolina crashed into a hill just short of the airport. It remains the deadliest crash involving a sports team in U.S. history.

The keynote speaker Thursday was Dr. Matthew M. Ralsten III who lost both of his parents in the crash. Matthew Murrill Ralsten and Helen Ralsten were among the 24 Marshall supporters who died.

"The impact of such a loss is hard to describe, but we were very fortunate to have been raised by our amazing extended family," said Ralsten. "The ceremony allows us to remember our loved ones while allowing us to also celebrate the amazing progress our school and community continues to achieve."

Next year will mark the crash's 50th anniversary.

ORIGINAL STORY 11/11/19
An annual memorial service is set this week to honor the 75 lives lost in a 1970 plane crash involving Marshall University's football team.

The service is set for noon Thursday in Huntington, West Virginia. Each year, the water at the Marshall Memorial Student Center's fountain is turned off to remain silent until spring.

On Nov. 14, 1970, 36 football players and 39 coaches, administrators, community leaders, fans and crew died when the team's chartered jet returning from a game at East Carolina crashed into a hill just short of the airport.

It remains the deadliest crash involving a sports team in U.S. history.

Next year will mark the crash's 50th anniversary.