May 25

This Day in History

General Interest

May 25, 1979:

Worst air crash in U.S. history

On Friday afternoon, Memorial Day weekend, American Airlines Flight 191, a Los Angeles-bound DC-10, takes off at 3:03 p.m. from Chicago-O'Hare International airport with 271 aboard. As Flight 191 raised its nose during the initial stage of the takeoff, an engine under the left wing broke off with its pylon assembly and fell to the runway. The aircraft climbed to about 350 feet above the ground and then began to spin to the left, continuing its leftward roll until the wings were past the vertical position, with the nose pitched down below the horizon. Moments later, the aircraft crashed into an open field about a half-mile from its takeoff point, killing all 271 people aboard and two others in a nearby trailer park. It was the worst domestic air crash in U.S. history.

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