Lynyrd Skynyrd’s iconic album Street Survivors had hit shelves only a few days before they boarded their leased, 30-year-old plane in spite of many misgivings. They’d already played five shows on the tour, and it had gone well — they were sitting on top of the world, but no amount of success can persuade the Reaper to look the other way.
According to Rolling Stone, they had plans to upgrade their old Convair 240 to a Learjet, and their 600-mile flight from Greenville to Baton Rouge was going to be one of their last trips in the Convair. It was — but not for the reasons they thought.
Survivors said nearly everyone onboard (except Ronnie Van Zant) had misgivings about the trip — misgivings amplified by the fact that just a few days earlier, flames had been seen spitting from one of the engines. But Van Zant was adamant, pushing them with these fateful words: “Hey, if the Lord wants you to die on this plane, when it’s your time, it’s your time. Let’s go, man. We’ve got a gig to do.” The plane crashed around three hours later. Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, and his sister, Cassie, lost their lives in the Mississippi swamps.
Strangely, Van Zant had been convinced that he would die before he turned 30, and he was just a few months shy of his 30th birthday when the plane went down.