DISASTERS: Flashback

A chilling plane crash report

On March 27, 1977, two Boeing 747s collided on the fog-shrouded runway of Los Rodeos Airport on Tenerife, the largest of Spain's Canary Islands. The disaster was the worst in aviation history, with a death toll of 583, including all aboard KLM's Rhine River and all but 61 people on Pan Am's Clipper Victor. Last week the Spanish government released the findings of an 18-month investigation of the crash. The verdict: KLM Captain Jacob Veldhuizen Van Zanten's decision to start his takeoff run without tower clearance was the "fundamental cause" of the accident.

The weather was dismal...

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