1978 Plane Crash Near A University

1978 crash scene
On October 26, 1978, two Uof A students were killed when a military plane crashed near the University of Arizona on 6th Street and Highland Avenue in Tucson, AZ.  Six others near the intersection were injured.  The site is located near where the Recreation Center stands today.  According to eyewitnesses, the jets usually fly low over the campus to land in nearby Davis Monthan Air Force Base.  On this particular day, the jet was flying much lower than usual when they heard a popping sound and saw the pilot ejecting from the plane.  This was followed by a loud boom and a huge fire ball.  Today a crater can be seen in the middle of 6th Street as a reminder of that tragic event.  

This was not the first time a military plane crashed in that location.  In 1967, four people were killed when it crashed into the supermarket they were shopping in.  There are rumors that the spirits of those killed can be seen in some of the areas on campus.

The intersection today


  1. Wow, didn't know that. Very crazy.

  2. I guess the last thing anyone is expecting when they're going about their business is for a plane to suddenly drop out of the sky on top of them. So sad!

  3. The "intersection today" picture is really not accurate. The '78 crash occurred on Highland between 6th and 8th, predominantly at 7th street. The "crash scene" photo is looking north on Highland, and in fact you can clearly see the UofA administration building on the right. The "scene today" picture is looking west on 6th street, and nothing in the photo was involved in the crash. The "scene today" photo was incorrectly used by a reporter for the Daily Wildcat back in '03 and even had the crash scene super-imposed on it as if they are the same vantage point. But they aren't. A new "today" picture should be used, taken from standing on Highland Ave, looking north from the 7th street intersection.

  4. That is totally correct. I worked at the UA during that time and had just passed through that exact spot just a few minutes prior to the crash. I went home for lunch which was nearby. Then I saw the black smoke and rushed over there...it looked like a war zone. Cars across the steeet were on fire and the steeet was black from the burning of the fuel. I saw them take one of the victims into a nearby house. Also saw the plane engine sitting in the middle of the street and a wing wrapped around a telephone pole. Will never forget that scene.


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