I Thought I Was in Hell: New Orleans Jet Crash

A casino-bound jet crashes in New Orleans, killing 153

For three days, sporadic thunderstorms had provided only momentary relief from the 90° heat oppressing residents of New Orleans. As Pan American Pilot Kenneth McCullers taxied his 153-ft-long Boeing 727 into position for takeoff at New Orleans International Airport, a column of thunderclouds towered 35,000 ft. into the air. A drenching rain was punctuated by 20-m.p.h. gusts and streaks of lightning. Through the haze, McCullers could see only two miles ahead.

Shortly after 4 p.m., Captain McCullers rolled the 105-ton plane, freshly loaded to its capacity...

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