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Delta Airlines flight 1141 - DFW Airport, Texas
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member txoilgas
N 32° 52.245 W 097° 03.114
14S E 682262 N 3638640
Quick Description: A gross pilot error causes a fatal crash.
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 2/23/2009 4:25:24 AM
Waymark Code: WM5X2B
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Team Farkle 7
Views: 14

Long Description:
Delta Airliner Crashes in Texas; 13 Killed but 94 Get Out Alive
By PETER APPLEBOME, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES
LEAD: A Delta Air Lines jet with 107 people aboard crashed and burst into flame shortly after takeoff here this morning, but 94 people got out alive. Many walked away unscratched, with some flying on to their destinations later in the day.

A Delta Air Lines jet with 107 people aboard crashed and burst into flame shortly after takeoff here this morning, but 94 people got out alive. Many walked away unscratched, with some flying on to their destinations later in the day.

It was just three years ago that 137 people died in the crash of another Delta plane at the same field, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Airline officials said 13 people died after the Boeing 727 began to shake wildly on takeoff and then crashed, breaking in two and bursting into flames about 1,000 feet past the end of the runway at 9:03 A.M. here. Many Amazed at Surviving

Many survivors, who clambered from emergency exits and a hole in the roof, expressed amazement that so many people came out alive. Among the survivors were two infants.

''From the moment we left the ground, you know we were going to wreck,'' said Michelle Christensen, 25 years old, of Dallas, who was on her way to celebrate her parents' wedding anniversary in Rapid City, S.D. ''I just thank the Lord I'm still here.''

The cause of the crash was still undetermined. Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board arrived to inspect the charred wreckage of the jet, which came to rest in a grassy field at the southwest part of the airport. The blackened fusilage remained there late today resting perpendicular to the runway, its wings sheared off, a gaping hole in the ceiling near the rear of the plane and its cockpit twisted out of shape.

Some questions were raised about the three engines on the tail of the 15-year-old Boeing 727. Witnesses reported that one of the plane's engines appeared to be on fire before it crashed. One passenger, Norman Newcity of Atlanta, said the plane shook on takeoff, and he heard three loud backfires before it crashed. He said the impact had crushed the cockpit ''like an accordian,'' and he could see flames spreading through the rear of the plane as people rushed toward the exits. Earlier Crash at Airport

The crash evoked memories of the worst aviation disaster in Texas history, which occurred at the same airport, on the same airline and in the same month three years ago. On Aug. 2, 1985, a Delta L-1011 Tristar crashed here while attempting to land in a driving thunderstorm. The crash killed 137 people, including a motorist whose car was struck by the plane.

This morning's crash occurred seconds after the plane became airborne. Survivors credited the captain, 48-year-old Larry Davis, and the work of fire crews who arrived on the scene before the last survivors, including the cockpit crew of three, left the wreckage.

The flight, Delta 1141, originated at 6:25 A.M. in Jackson, Miss., and then stopped in Dallas before taking off for Salt Lake City. Of those on board when the plane crashed, 87 boarded the plane in Dallas. Delta officials said there were no reports of maintenance problems or delays before either flight.

Officials said the airplane was one of the 200 Series of 727's in the airline's fleet of 358 aircraft. The plane was purchased new in 1973 and the original type of engine was replaced with a new, quieter, more fuel-efficient Pratt & Whitney engine within the last five years, officials said.

Survivors said the plane began to shake violently as it took off, its left wing dipped toward the ground, and the Boeing 727 plunged to the ground, with the rear breaking in two. The rear of the plane was little but charred wreckage, but much of the front of the fuselage survived intact.

One passenger, Dr. Dan Walker of Dallas, said the pilot's ability to get the plane level and land it on its belly was the main reason so many people survived. Praise for the Pilot

''The pilot did an excellent job of getting it flat,'' he said, saying the pilot had probably saved many lives ''by doing that.''

The pilot, Mr. Davis, who joined Delta in October 1965, was the last person pulled from the wreckage after being wedged in by the control panel. He underwent surgery for back injuries at Parkland Hospital in Dallas.

Officials said most of the deaths occurred in the rear of the plane. They could not say whether all four flight attendants had survived.

The fire was concentrated on the right side of the plane. Survivors said they had used the emergency exits on the left side of the plane to jump to the ground.

Several survivors said passengers remained remarkably calm for the most part after the crash.

Jerry Galloway, 27, a rodeo clown from Hollyville, Tex., who was on his way to Twin Falls, Idaho, said the plane began swaying wildly to and fro as it took off, and then he heard a popping sound he first took to be a tire blowout before the plane thudded to the ground. But he said there was little panic, even as orange flames lit the darkened aircraft.

''Everything was orderly,'' he said. ''There wasn't any screaming. I never had the feeling that I wasn't getting out of there.'' Quick Arrival at Scene

He said the airport fire department was on the scene so quickly that he ended up covered in foam after helping other passengers leave the aircraft.

David Mosal of Jackson, Miss., said that as the plane was preparing to take off he was talking with a pregnant woman next to him in the front of the plane about her two young children who were flying with her. ''We were basically just kind of laughing, talking about kids, having a good time while we waited for the plane to take off,'' he said.

As soon as the plane hit the ground and came to a halt, he said the woman turned to him and hollered ''Help me take my children out of here.'' He said the grabbed the woman's 5 year old, climbed out of a hole at the front of the plane and carried the child to safety. When he stopped running, he turned around and saw the woman carrying her 2 year old. ''You didn't have time to be scared,'' he said. ''You realized that somehow you were alive and you tried to help whoever you could. The Lord was with a lot of us.''

Others described chaotic scenes of passengers climbing in panic through the holes in the roof. Many suffered burns on their hands by touching the scorched fuselage they climbed through to escape.

''I don't think I knew how much danger I was in until I looked up and saw the hole that I was going to climb out of,'' said Dale Patterson, a nursing home administrator from Plano, Tex.

Thirty-six passengers were reported hospitalized. But approximately 60 others were treated and released at local hospitals in Dallas, Fort Worth and neighboring towns. Many walked away with little more than scratches.

Delta officials said there was nothing more than coincidence in the two major crashes it had at the airport.

''Delta operates more flights than any other airline in the world and if you believe in the odds, I guess we're more exposed than any other airlines,'' said a Delta spokesman, William Berry, in Atlanta.

Among those watching events with particular interest was Roger Reed of Jackson, Miss. He said he took the first leg of the trip to Dallas, got off the plane in Dallas and was planning to fly back to Jackson later that afternoon.

He said he had called his wife after he heard about the crash and told her not to worry.

''I told her to put away the insurance policy; I'm O.K.,'' he said.

Mr. Reed said he takes the same flight three times a week as part of work on a construction project in Dallas. He said he always flies Delta and likes the 727, but might bring a touch of trepidation with him next time.

''Something like this will make you think,'' he said. ''I think I'll ask for a raise.''

Type of publication: Newspaper

When was the article reported?: 09/01/1988

Publication: New York TImes

Article Url: [Web Link]

Is Registration Required?: no

How widespread was the article reported?: international

News Category: Business/Finance

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