Saturday marks 1-year anniversary of plane crash that killed OSU coaches, alumni

STILLWATER - This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of a plane crash that killed two members of the Oklahoma State University coaching staff and two longtime OSU supporters.

Memorials are scheduled Saturday on OSU's Stillwater campus to remember the four who died -- women's head basketball coach Kurt Budke, assistant coach Miranda Serna as well as OSU alumni Olin and Paula Branstetter.

"It is a period in OSU's history that should and will never be forgotten," said OSU President Burns Hargis.  "We continue to mourn the loss of these four individuals who were dear to our hearts and touched so many lives.  Our thoughts are with their families and friends."   

The four were in a plane piloted by Olin Branstetter when it crashed Nov. 17, 2011 about 50 miles west of Little Rock.

Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) say witnesses report seeing the plane flying at a low altitude and making turns before it nose-dived.

According to the accident report, there were no air traffic control communications with the plane before it crashed.

A year after the accident, no final cause has been released by the NTSB.  They say it usually takes 12 to 18 months.

The OSU football team will wear the number "4" on their helmets during Saturday's OSU-Texas Tech game.

A moment of silence is planned before the game.

On Friday morning, four orange wreaths in the student union plaza were lit.  Campus officials say they will remain illuminated throughout the holiday season.

The memorial lobby in the southwest corner of Gallagher-Iba Arena is open to the public Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for those who want to drop off flowers or other mementos. In addition, a "Remember the 4" banner will be available for people to sign.

On Saturday at 4:10 p.m. the Edmon Low Library bells will ring four times in honor of the four who were lost.  

"4" stickers will be handed out to those that attend the OSU Cowgirls v. Weber State basketball game Sunday.  Admission to that game is free in honor of the four.  

Prior to the game, a private reception is planned for friends and family members of the four.

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