On This Day: Plane crash kills members of Lynyrd Skynyrd

On Oct. 20, 1977, members of Lynyrd Skynyrd were killed in the Mississippi crash of a plane chartered by the rock band.
By UPI Staff  |  Oct. 20, 2017 at 3:00 AM
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Oct. 20 (UPI) -- On this date in history:

In 1818, the United States and Britain agreed to establish the 49th parallel as the official boundary between the U.S. and Canada.

In 1918, Germany accepted U.S. President Woodrow Wilson's terms to end World War I.

In 1944 American troops landed on the eastern coast of Leyte Island in the Philippines. Gen. Douglas MacArthur, forced off the island two years earlier said as he strode ashore, "I have returned."

In 1947, the U.S. House of Representatives Un-American Activities Committee opened public hearings into alleged communist influence in Hollywood.

In 1968, former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy marries Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis on the Greek island of Skorpios.

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In 1973, during the Watergate scandal, U.S. President Richard Nixon dismissed two officials for refusing to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox. The incident became known as the "Saturday Night Massacre."

In 1977, members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, including lead singer Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Steve Gaines, were killed in the Mississippi crash of a plane chartered by the rock band. Twenty people survived the crash.

In 1982, up to 340 soccer fans were crushed to death in a stampede on icy steps in a Moscow stadium passageway during a match between Soviet and Dutch players.

In 1994, Hollywood star Burt Lancaster died at the age of 80.

In 2004, retired Gen. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was sworn in as Indonesia's sixth president after winning the country's first direct elections for head of state.

In 2010, more than 1 million ballots in the Afghan parliamentary election were disqualified for fraud, electoral officials said two days after the vote.

In 2011, deposed Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi was killed as he tried to escape from his hometown hideout in the coastal city of Sirte while troops, including NATO forces, closed in. Gadhafi, 69, ousted from power in a massive revolt two months earlier, had ruled Libya for 42 years.

Libyan National Transitional Council fighters celebrate in the streets of Tripoli following news of the fall of Sirte, Libya, the last holdout of Libyan former leader Moammar Gadhafi, who was killed in the attack on October 20, 2011. File Photo by Amru Taha/UPI

In 2012, opposition activists in Syria said the bodies of more than 75 people, mostly women, children and elderly people, many showing signs of torture, were found in the city of Deir Ezzor.

In 2013, Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Araby said an international conference aimed at ending the civil war in Syria would be conducted in November. Within hours of his announcement, a sucide bomber killed more than 30 people in the Syrian city of Hama. In 2 1/2 years, the war had claimed more than 100,000 lives and 2 million Syrians had fled to other countries.

In 2014, a Chicago fatally shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who, though he was holding a knife, was walking away from police officers. McDonald's death, coming in the midst of a nationwide debate over police use of excessive force, sparked protests and resulted in a first-degree murder charge against officer Jason Van Dyke.

File Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI
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