Otis Redding Plane Crash December 10, 1967 – Madison, WI
Seven musicians and a pilot were in Redding's twin-engine Beechcraft, which he'd recently
purchased from singer James Brown. Redding was 26, Married with 3 children.
The only survivor was trumpet player Ben Cauley, who was 20 at the time. Cauley was jolted
awake as the plane crashed into Lake Monona about a half mile out from the 4600 block of
Tonyawatha Trail in Monona. Cauley, who couldn’t swim, grabbed a seat cushion and held on
tight. The crash could be heard across the lakefront. The pilot had given no indication of
trouble when he was cleared for landing; the cause of the crash was never determined.
The Memorial on the Monona Terrace Rooftop
In 1987 the City of Madison erected the benches and plaque in Law Park. They went into storage while Monona Terrace was built over the park,
then placed on the rooftop garden in 1997.