Nation: The Crash of the Night Owl

A DC-10 comes down on the wrong runway, killing 73 people

In his 30 years as a pilot with Western Air Lines, Captain Charles Gilbert, 53, had made the run between Los Angeles and Mexico City hundreds of times. The last occasion had been in late October, six days after Runway 23-L, which is the only one at Benito Juarez International Airport equipped for instrument landings, had been closed for repairs. Last week, before he took off at 12:50 a.m. from Los Angeles in command of Flight 2605, the "Night Owl," carrying 13 crew members...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!