The facts, as generally agreed upon, are these:
At appoximately 1AM on February 3, 1959, Holly, Valens and Richardson (‘the Big Bopper’) boarded a plane in Clear Lake, Iowa, intending to fly to their next concert, in Moorhead, Minnesota. The three, flown by pilot Roger Peterson, were killed a short time later when their plane crashed.
The major cause of the crash appears to have been a combination of poor weather conditions and pilot error. Peterson was not qualified for nighttime flights, and it also appears that he may have been given incorrect information regarding the weather conditions on that fateful night.
By Civil Aeronautics Board – Picture from The Day the Music Died: Crash Site Photo Archive (Other photos available, graphic content). The photographs were originally attached with the Aircraft Accident Report – File No. 2-0001 by the Civil Aeronautics Board (September 15, 1959), Public Domain, Link
As mentioned in:
American Pie — Don McLean
Air Crash Museum — Dead Milkmen
We Didn’t Start The Fire — Billy Joel
Rock And Roll Hall Of Death — Mitch Benn And The Distractions