Denver: Prescription For Disaster

Prescription For Disaster

A snowstorm raged and the mercury had dropped to 28 degrees F as Continental Flight 1713, bound for Boise, took off last week from Denver's Stapleton International Airport. The DC-9 was airborne but a few seconds when it clipped the runway with its left wing and cartwheeled down the tarmac, breaking into three pieces. Of the 81 aboard, 28 died, including the pilot and copilot.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board focused on the buildup of ice on the plane's wings while it waited 23 minutes between deicing and takeoff. Another possible factor: pilot inexperience. Copilot Lee Bruecher, 26, who...

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