Bob Bruggers, Passenger of Infamous 1975 Plane Crash, Dies Aged 80

Bob Bruggers, a wrestling staple whose career was tragically cut short following a 1975 plane crash, has passed away at the age of 80. 

Bruggers entered the wrestling business in 1972 and would quickly make a name for himself in the Minnesota-based AWA as well as other territories. In 1974, Bruggers and Paul Jones won the NWA Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Championship after dethroning Gene and Ole Anderson. Their 87-day reign was ended by Rip Hawk and a rookie by the name of Ric Flair. 

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Outside of the ring, Bruggers played collegiate basketball but made a big name for himself in Football. He would play six seasons in the NFL as part of the Miami Dolphins and San Diego Chargers before entering pro-wrestling. 

Bruggers’ Plane Crash

On October 4, 1975, Bruggers’ career in wrestling came to an end due to being part of an infamous plane crash. Bruggers had initially not been scheduled to be on the flight but in need of fast transportation, took Jim Crockett Jr’s invitation to take his place on the Cessna 310 as Crockett was ill. The crash would injure all on board, including David Crockett, Ric Flair, Johnny Valentine, and Tim Woods. The pilot would succumb to his injuries. 

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Bruggers’ suffered a broken ankle and multiple spinal fractures due to the crash that also ended the career of Valiant. The crash occurred after it was discovered that the plane could not take off given the weight of the passengers. Rather than leave someone behind, the plane was drained of a lot of fuel and ran out of fuel before reaching its North Carolina destination.

Bruggers After Wrestling

After his career in the ring ended, Bruggers worked as a sales manager for a tool company. Upon receiving an insurance settlement related to the plane crash, he moved to West Palm Beach, Florida, and opened a bar. He was inducted into the University of Minnesota’s “M” Club Hall of Fame in 2002 and his accomplishments in football and basketball were recognized.

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We at SE Scoops would like to offer our sincere condolences to those who knew Bruggers at this sad time.