Northwest Airlines flight 255 victims remembered in Phoenix

Shortly after take-off, 156 individuals had been killed in one of many deadliest airplane crashes in US historical past.

PHOENIX — Thirty-five years in the past, numerous lives had been modified eternally when an airliner crashed shortly after take-off, killing everybody on board besides a four-year-old woman.

Northwest Airlines Flight 255 is among the deadliest aviation crashes in the nation. In whole, 154 individuals on their solution to Phoenix died that day in Detroit on August 16, 1987. Two individuals on the bottom had been additionally killed. 

On Tuesday, those that had family members on that tragic flight remembered them with a memorial service in Phoenix.

Each one of many victims’ names was learn out loud proper subsequent to the memorial positioned outdoors City Hall.  

“She was a flight attendant,” says Elizabeth Schaffer-Smith, who lost her mom in the crash. Schaffer-Smith says she was 10 on the time. “She was wonderful,” Schaffer-Smith says, “I have wonderful memories.”

Justin Behnke was 7 when his mom died in the crash. He nonetheless remembers that day vividly. “It was me and my sister’s family at the house, you know, [I] just got done fishing with my best bud that day.” Behnke and his dad had been nearly to go away for Phoenix Sky Harbor to choose his mother up after they received the decision.

“We turned on the TV, and certain sufficient, there is a airplane and flames on the freeway, Behnke says. 

One hundred forty-eight passengers and 6 crew members had been killed in the crash. Two individuals on the bottom additionally died. The solely survivor was a baby on the airplane. Reports say she was touring together with her mother, dad, and brother.

As for what triggered the crash, an investigation performed by the National Transportation Safety Board revealed it was a pilot error. The report claims the flight crew failed to make use of the taxi guidelines, resulting in the plane’s flaps and slats not being correctly prolonged earlier than takeoff. 

The experiences additionally says the takeoff warning system had no connection to energy and didn’t warn the crew there have been points with the airplane.

Following the crash, Northwest Airlines by no means used flight quantity 255 once more. Even after it merged with Delta, the quantity has nonetheless not been used.

All these years later, Schaffer-Smith would not know if this ache will ever go away. “You think that it would, but it doesn’t,” Schaffer-Smith says, holding again tears. “You just learn how to move forward.” 

However, listening to these names attain each year brings a way of consolation Schaffer-Smith says, “We still remember. Their spirit lives on.”

Knowing these lost is not going to be forgotten.

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