Disasters: Last Minutes of JAL 123

A holiday flight in Japan slams into a mountain and takes 520 lives

The early evening in Tokyo was hot (83° F) and steamy, and one of the world's busiest air terminals, Haneda, was even more jammed and uncomfortable than usual. But most of the jostling travelers were in a festive, uncomplaining mood. The three-day observance of Bon, a holiday season nearly as joyous as New Year's, would begin the next morning. Many Japanese would devote the days to nostalgic visits to the places of their birth, to happy reunions with relatives, to paying homage to their ancestors. The more religious among them believed that the spirits of their forefathers would return to the...

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