Disasters Never a Year So Bad

A British jet explosion kills 54 and raises new questions about air safety

Again, passengers boarded a jetliner, strapped themselves in and prepared to set course for a holiday resort. Once again, the seat configuration had been modified to hold more passengers. Almost every seat was taken. Beyond a few slender details, the tragedies of British Airtours Flight KT 328 and Japan Air Lines Flight 123 have little in common. But last week's air disaster at Manchester International Airport, in the north of England, coming just ten days after the crash of the JAL jumbo jet, had a numbingly familiar ring: the reports of panicked passengers screaming for help, a plane with a sound...

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