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Air Disasters

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Statistically, traveling by airplane is safer than driving and other forms of transportation, but when something goes wrong during a flight, it can be catastrophic with potentially hundreds of lives at stake. This series examines some of the world's worst air disasters, using official reports, transcripts and interviews with people involved to tell the stories of midair mishaps and discover what went wrong in each case. Episodes include a discussion of how the weather affects flights -- including stories of aviation disasters and near-misses -- and a New Year's Eve flight that fell from the sky into the Florida Everglades.

Latest episodes

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Moments before Pacific Southwest Flight 1771 crashes on a cattle ranch in California, gunshots are heard in the cabin.
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The FBI and NTSB join forces to determine how terrorists hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 and flew it into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.
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A runway collision at a small airport turns tragic when passengers cannot escape the burning aircraft.
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Investigators try to figure out why a private Learjet carrying golf legend Payne Stewart went rogue before crashing in a South Dakota hayfield.
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An investigation of a charter plane that moves off course and goes down in Canada's far north.
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When a cargo plane crashes at a U.S. airfield in Afghanistan, investigators reach a conclusion that ultimately proves incorrect.
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When a plane carrying Russian tourists crashes in Egypt, investigators face political tensions and terrorist claims in their search for the truth.
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A new investigation sheds light on the controversial 1961 plane crash that killed U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld.
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When a commuter turboprop plane crashes at an Irish airport, investigators uncover a startling gap in aviation safety.
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Atlantic Airways Flight 670 careened off the runway and became engulfed in flames.
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A plane carrying Mexico's interior minister crashes into Mexico City's financial district.
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When the crash of a commuter plane in Georgia killed a NASA astronaut, a four-term U.S. senator and 21 others, the disaster grabbed headlines around the world.
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An Air France Concorde crashes into a Paris hotel after takeoff on July 25, 2000.
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Almost immediately after taking off from Madrid International Airport, Spanair Flight 5022 banked to the right, slammed into a creek and burst into flames.
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When John F. Kennedy Jr.'s Piper Saratoga crashed in 1999, the NTSB faces enormous pressure to find the wreckage and the cause.
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TAM flight 402 slammed into a residential neighborhood and burst into flames, just seconds after lifting off from Congonhas airport in São Paulo, Brazil, killing all 95 people on board and three people on the ground.
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Investigators try to find the cause of two similar air crashes that happened nearly 12 years apart.
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When a commercial airliner goes down in eastern Ukraine in 2014, examiners must conduct an investigation in the middle of a war zone.
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Some of history's worst air disasters.
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Some of history's worst air disasters.
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Some of history's worst air disasters.

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