25th anniversary of deadly American Eagle Flight 4184 plane crash, killing 68 in Roselawn

Thursday, October 31, 2019
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Family and friends gather in Roselawn 25 years after the deadly American Eagle Flight 4184 plane crash that killed all 68 people.

ROSELAWN, Ind. (WLS) -- An airline disaster 25 years ago brought significant changes in how airline disasters are handled.

On a cold and rainy afternoon in 1994 American Eagle Flight 4184, from Indianapolis to Chicago, crashed in this field near Roselawn, Indiana.

"This was the tough one knowing that it happened right here and again being here on a day virtually identical to the weather conditions 25 years ago," said Jeff Wood, a friend of one of the victims.

RELATED: Memorial wall built to honor Flight 4184 victims

Today Jeff Wood and his two friends made the long journey, driving 13 hours overnight from the East Coast, to pay tribute to his friend Jeff Burrell.

"It's kind of surreal to be here right now. There's a connection, it feels you know, it feels strange but it feels like the right thing," Wood said.

Burrell, along with 63 other passengers and 4 crew members, would never make it.

All perished in the crash after the plane encountered severe icy conditions, according to authorities.

"That plane should have never been flying in these weather conditions," said Pat Sheridan Duprey, who lost her oldest brother Frank in the crash. "Frank got on the plane to get on an earlier flight because he was closing on a house that afternoon."

Following the crash, families of the victims demanded more answers and better rules and regulations.

"The news media was the only way of finding out what was going on," Durpey said.

As a result, the Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act of 1996 was passed and ensured victim's families receive information in crashes.

RELATED: Special Segment: The Legacy of Flight 4184

"Policies and procedures were built and created on an enormous amount of trauma, and stress, and grief and loss, and I hope that message never goes away as we continue this type of work for the next 25 years," said Jen Stansberry, who also lost someone on the flight that day.

Since the 20th Anniversary of the crash, families have stopped formally organizing annual events, however, it doesn't keep them or the community from coming to this memorial to pay tribute to those 68 souls.