Forensic Expert says Big Bopper Died Instantly in '59 Crash

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

An expert says entertainer J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson suffered massive fractures and likely died immediately in a 1959 plane crash.

The accident also killed killed rock 'n' rollers Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens.

The update came Tuesday from a forensic anthropologist who examined the exhumed remains.

The performer's son, Jay Richardson, hired Doctor Bill Bass -- a well-known forensic anthropologist at the University of Tennessee -- to look at the remains in Beaumont.

There have been rumors a gun might have been fired on board the plane and that the Big Bopper might have survived the crash and died trying to get help.

Bass took X-rays of the body and found nothing to support those theories -- or any foul play.

The plane crashed after takeoff from Mason City, Iowa.

The Civil Aeronautics Board blamed pilot error for the accident.

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