HUBBARD LAKE, Mich. — A group of survivors of a plane crash that killed 15 military personnel in Alpena gathered at the site with loved ones to mark the 40th anniversary of the tragedy.

The Alpena News ( ) reported that John R. Harrison, Fred Anderson, Cliff Call, Dwaine Crane and Dale Solon survived the crash Sept. 26, 1976.

Their memorial took place Monday where the KC-135 tanker they were aboard went down. The plane was on its way to Wurthsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda when it burst into flames.

“I can clearly remember the sound of that first explosion,” Call said. “It was a monstrous explosion. There was one big one, followed by multiple other explosions.”

Call said several of the survivors suffered burns on over 75 percent of their bodies.

Many of the military personnel had reconnected or met 10 years ago, for the 30th anniversary. Since meeting with their fellow survivors, Ratz and Kauffman made it their goal to go back to the crash site periodically to make sure it remains accessible.

Julie Warren-Cook, who lost a husband that day, and Vi Smithwick, whose son died in the tragedy, also attended the memorial.

Before leaving the crash site, the group formed a circle, held hands and prayed for all of those impacted by the crash.

Information from: The Alpena News,