Newton, IA Rocky Marciano Killed In Plane Crash, Aug 1969
MARCIANO KILLED IN CRASH.
2 IOWANS ALSO DIE IN PLANE.
Newton -- Rocky Marciano, retired undefeated heavyweight champion, died Sunday night when a light plane crashed in a pasture near here. He would have been 46 today.
The retired knockout king was flying from Chicago to Des Moines, with two companions who also were killed when the plane plunged through a low overcast, struck a tree and smashed to earth on a farm near this central Iowa town.
Friends said he had been en route to a birthday party for his at a Des Moines steak house.
Jasper County Sheriff DARRELL HURLEY said MARCIANO was found dead in the fuselage of the single-engine Cessna. The bodies of pilot GLENN BELZ, 37, and FRANK FARRELL, 23, both of Des Moines, were found amid wreckage that was scattered for 500 feet.
A flight service official at Des Moines said the pilot told him about 9 p.m. he intended to land at Newton but gave no indication of trouble. HURLEY said the crash apparently came shortly afterward.
The bodies were taken to a Des Moines funeral home.
The plane was a single engine Cessna 172, 1967 model, authorities said. Jasper County Sheriff DARRELL HURLEY said "The only thing we have found out so far was that the engine conked out and they went down."
The crash occurred on the HENRY EILANDER farm, 2 miles south of Newton.
There were indications the four-seat plane may have encountered mechanical trouble or run low on fuel and that the pilot was trying to make it to the Newton airport, about 1 1/2 miles from the crash scene.
Federal Aviation Administration officials, who quickly sealed off the site, refused to speculate about the cause.
Iowa Farmwife Hears Plane Engine Sputter.
Newton (AP) -- A farm woman said she heard the engine of the plane carrying former heavyweight champion ROCKY MARCIANO to his death sputter, stop, sputter again and then quit before it crashed south of here Sunday night.
MRS. FLOYD SCHWARTZ, who lives on the farm next to where the Cessna 172 single-engine plane was strewn into a creek bed, said she then called Newton police, who summoned sheriff's officers.
First on the scene was deputy Sheriff JIM VeWERE, who with the aid of other deputies found the bodies of MARCIANO, pilot GLENN BELZ, 37, and passenger FRANK FARRELL, 23.
Friends of FARRELL said he and BELZ, both of Des Moines, had flown to Chicago to pick uup MARCIANO for a birthday dinner party to be given in his honor Sunday night at the Charcoal room in Des Moines.
The plane slammed to the ground in a wooded area on a pasture at the HENRY EILANDER farm, where no one was home. The impact sheared wings from the craft and tore the motor from the fuselage.
"It was so dark out there and so muddy you couldn't see anything, "Sheriff DARREL HURLEY said his deputies reported. "It took a while to identify them," HURLEY said.
A. L. CRAWFORD, chief of the Kansas City, Mo., field office for the National Transportation Safety Board headed the investigation, and Federal Aviation Administration officials ordered autopsies.
Bodies of the three were taken first to the Toland-Wallace funeral home in Newton and later taken to the Dunn funeral home in Des Moines.
BELZ, president of a constsruction company in Des Moines, is survived by his wife, LA RAY, and four children.
Friends said FARRELL had known MARCIANO since FARRELL'S boyhood. FARRELL, a baseball and basketball star while in high school at Des Moines Dowling, was the son of the late LEW FARRELL, a Des Moines beer distributor.
Cedar Rapids Gazette Iowa 1969-09-01