JAPAN: Worst Crash

Broken rain clouds hung low over Tachikawa Air Base last week as the EUR-124 Globemaster, biggest of the Air Force's transport craft, lumbered to the end of the runway. Visibility was a safe 2½ miles, and the 122 Air Force and Army passengers chatted easily as the massive, two-deck plane made a perfect takeoff.

For 60 seconds, the Globemaster bored upwards through the overcast, above the tiny farms and woodlots that fringe the western outskirts of Tokyo. Its destination: Korea. Then at 4:32 p.m., from 1,400 ft., the pilot flashed word that he was...

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