On this day in 1964, Country Music Hall of Fame member, Jim Reeves, died when his single-engine Beechcraft plane crashed near Nashville, Tennessee.
Reeves and his business partner and manager Dean Manuel was flying on their way to Nashville. They were riding on a single-engine aircraft, and the country singer is at the controls. The two came from Batesville, Arkansas, where they secured a deal on some real estate.
When they were flying over Brentwood, Tennessee, they were caught in a violent storm. It was an unexpected incident that caused Reeves to suffer from spatial disorientation, which is the pilot’s inability to determine his body position in space.
According to forensic evidence, Reeves relied on his instincts more than his training during the thunderstorm encounter. He turned left attempting to follow Franklin Road. This caused them to fly further into the rain. Having been too focused on establishing his ground references, Reeves let his airspeed get too low and stalled the aircraft.
Official investigation recorded that Reeves ran into the heavy rain at 4:52 p.m. and crashed only a minute later. The wreckage was found 42 hours later. The plane’s parts were buried in the ground due to the crash’s impact. Ernest Tubb and Marty Robbins were among those who joined the search operation. After their death was formally announced in public, thousands of supporters traveled to pay their last respects at the country star’s funeral.