Remembering A Terrible Tragedy: 40 Years Later

My thoughts and prayers go out to all of those whose lives were lost 40 years ago and their families who still are grieving the loss of their loved ones.

This week marks 40 years since American Airlines Flight 191 crashed outside of O’Hare Airport, killing 273 people.

On May 25th, 1979, Flight 191 had taken off of runway 32R at O’Hare Airport bound for Los Angeles. Seconds after take off, the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 lost its left engine, causing it to roll to its left side and crashing into an open field near Touhy Ave in Des Plaines, killing everyone on board.

Numerous area fire departments were called to assist. Some team members spending multiple days on the crash site. 40 years later American Airlines Flight 191 remains the deadliest passenger aircraft accident on U.S. Soil.

Since that fateful day area public safety units have developed an integrated response plan with Chicago to serve and protect during any future tragedies.

Remembering a terrible tragedy…

My thoughts will be with everyone who lost a loved one this week…40 years ago, especially this week. I will visit the Memorial in Lake Park this week to honor those lost and the first responders who served.

God Bless the Flight Crew and Passengers of Flight 191 and the two people on the ground.

God Bless all the emergency personnel who were there to help on that day and the weeks that followed.

Hard to believe 40 years ago I and many of my Fire Department Brothers were walking the crash site picking up remains and bringing them to the American Airlines hanger set up as a temporary morgue.

On Monday May 25, 2015, Memorial Day, it was the 36th anniversary of the crash of American Airlines Flt. 191, on a flight from Chicago to Los Angeles. Back then, it was a Friday afternoon, the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend in 1979. People going home at the end of a work week, or just flying out to LA for a holiday weekend. It would end seconds after take-off in the worst air disaster in US history. Going down the runway, the left engine pylon of the DC-10, gave way, ripping out the hydraulics, & dropping the engine on the runway. As the plane left the ground, the pilots had no control of the jetliner, & it veered sharply to the left, on it’s side and slammed into the ground, in a field, just to the north of Touhy Ave. in Des Plaines. It narrowly missed a mobile home site, and god only knows what would have happened if it hit the refinery tanks, just to the west of that, by Rt. 83. In 2012, they finally built a fitting memorial in Des Plaines, at Lake Park, near Touhy Ave. long overdue. Very somber day for the survivors of those 273 people. 270 on board, and 3 on the ground. The photos in order are,

1-the jet veering to the left as all hydraulics were lost, 2-the impact,

3- crash site today,

4-the memorial in DesPlaines, 5-the Sun-Times headline, 6- the events leading up to the tragedy. Very, very tragic. Lest we forget today!!!

The years may pass, but the memories are locked in our brains and our hearts.

About royfmc

BS in Environmental Engineering from Northwestern University's McCormick College of Engineering MBA from DePaul University's Kellstadt's College of Business JD from DePaul University's College of Law Website:
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