TRAGEDY RETOLD: VALUJET CRASH

HOW A TRAIL OF BLUNDERS LED TO THE VALUJET CRASH

It was billed as a dry, fact-finding inquiry. But testimony from last week's National Transportation Safety Board hearings on the May 11 ValuJet crash that took 110 lives left victims' relatives in tears as they listened to a sickening account of an avoidable tragedy.

Witnesses portrayed the crash as a horrific consequence of a chain of irresponsibility shared by ValuJet, SabreTech (one of the airline's maintenance companies) and ultimately the Federal Aviation Administration. Volatile oxygen-generating canisters were incorrectly marked empty, packed in cardboard boxes that lacked hazardous-warning labels, and stowed in the cargo hold of the DC-9 without required safety caps...

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