Watch Mayday season 16 episode 6 (S16E06)
An unlikely tip leads to the shocking conclusion of why Continental Express Flight 2286 crashed just a few miles short of its destination.
Watch Mayday season 16 episode 5 (S16E05)
Watch Mayday season 16 episode 4 (S16E04)
On 20 August 2007, China Airlines Flight 120 catches fire and explodes shortly after landing and taxiing to the gate area at Naha Airport in Okinawa, Japan.
Watch Mayday season 16 episode 2 (S16E02)
In a special episode, we revisit the 9/11 terrorist attacks that left thousands dead and the investigation that followed.
Watch Mayday season 16 episode 1 (S16E01)
En route to Dallas from Orlando, a private Learjet carrying pro golf legend Payne Stewart goes rogue. Air traffic controllers are unable to reach the crew.
Watch Mayday season 15 episode 10 (S15E10)
Seconds after taking off, TAM Airlines flight 402 slammed into a residential neighbourhood bursting into flames, killing all 95 people on board.
Watch Mayday season 15 episode 9 (S15E09)
On 5 April 1991, Atlantic Southeast Airlines Flight 2311 from Atlanta suddenly nose-dives into the ground while on landing approach to Glynco Jetport, killing all 23 people on board, including US Senator John Tower and astronaut Sonny Carter. The accident was caused by a malfunction of the left engine propeller control unit.
Watch Mayday season 15 episode 8 (S15E08)
Indonesia Flight 200 (GA200) was a scheduled domestic passenger flight of a Boeing 737-400 operated by Garuda Indonesia between Jakarta and Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The aircraft crashed and burst into flames while landing at Adisucipto International Airport on 7 March 2007. Twenty passengers and one crew member were killed; both the captain and the first officer survived and were admitted to an Indonesian military hospital.
Watch Mayday season 15 episode 7 (S15E07)
On 20 August 2008, Spanair Flight 5022 attempts to takeoff from Barajas Airport, but stalls immediately, banks to the right and crashes, killing 154 people out of the 172 on board. The pilots aborted the first takeoff attempt, and the second one resulted in the crash.
Watch Mayday season 15 episode 6 (S15E06)
On 10 October 2006, the British aerospace aircraft of Atlantic Airways flight 670 had a routine stop on the Norwegian island of Stord. But the spoilers, which are used on top of the wing to allow a more rapid braking after landing, deny their service. The plane crashes down a steep embankment and caught fire. Four of the 16 people on board are killed. Later, investigators discover on the tarmac a mysterious substance that may provide vital clues to the cause of the accident.
Watch Mayday season 15 episode 5 (S15E05)
On 18 September 1961, a Douglas DC-6 operated by Transair Sweden carrying the second Secretary-General of the United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld crashes en-route to cease-fire negotiations in Zambia. All of the 16 passengers and crew die in the incident.
Watch Mayday season 15 episode 4 (S15E04)
On 3 September 2010, the pilots of UPS Airlines Flight 6 report a fire and declare an emergency shortly after taking off from Dubai International Airport. The crew try to return to the airport but are unsuccessful, passing over the airport and crashes into an unpopulated area near the airport. Both of the pilots die.
Watch Mayday season 15 episode 3 (S15E03)
On 4 October 1992, after taking off from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, El Al Flight 1862 declares an emergency. The crew do their best to make an emergency landing, but the 747 cargo jet rolls violently to the right and crashes into an apartment complex, killing 43 people. The two engines on the right wing had separated from the aircraft, causing the loss of control.
Watch Mayday season 15 episode 2 (S15E02)
On 6 July 2013, on landing at San Francisco International Airport, Asiana Airlines Flight 214 strikes a seawall and crashes short of the runway. Of the 307 people aboard, two passengers die at the crash scene and another one dies shortly after in hospital.
Watch Mayday season 15 episode 1 (S15E01)
On 19 November 1996, United Express Flight 5925, operating for Great Lakes Airlines, lands at Quincy Regional Airport and collides with a private King Air taking off from an intersecting runway, killing all 14 people from both aircraft.
Watch Mayday season 14 episode 10 (S14E10)
On 20 August 2011, First Air Flight 6560, a charter flight crashed near to their destination of Resolute Bay Airport, Resolute, Nunavut, Canada in poor weather conditions. Out of the 15 passengers and crew, only three survived.
Watch Mayday season 14 episode 9 (S14E09)
Fog makes landing difficult and as Manx2 Flight 7100 makes its third attempt, disaster strikes as the plane crashes.
Watch Mayday season 14 episode 8 (S14E08)
On 4 November 2008, an official Mexican Interior Ministry Learjet 45 crashes in central Mexico City. Mexican Secretary of the Interior Juan Camilo Mouriño, who was aboard the plane, was killed in the crash, along with the other seven people on board and eight people on the ground. The plane crashed in rush-hour traffic at Las Lomas. The plane crashed due to a loss of control from wake turbulence.
Watch Mayday season 14 episode 7 (S14E07)
On 25 July 2000, a Concorde operating as Air France Flight 4590 en route to New York City, USA, stalls and crashes into a hotel in Gonesse shorty after take off from Charles de Gaulle International Airport. The plane had struck foreign debris from a Continental Airlines DC-10 causing the plane's fuel tanks to ignite and the engines to fail. All of the 109 passengers and crew die in the incident and 4 on the ground.
Watch Mayday season 14 episode 6 (S14E06)
On 16 July 1999, John F. Kennedy Jr. dies when the Piper Saratoga light aircraft he was piloting crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts in hazy conditions. His wife, Carolyn Bessette, and sister-in-law, Lauren Bessette, were on board and also killed. The NTSB concluded that the crash was caused by spatial disorientation resulting in pilot error.
Watch Mayday season 14 episode 4 (S14E04)
Copa Airlines Flight 201 is flying towards Cali, Colombia when the plane suddenly disintegrates in mid-air.
Watch Mayday season 14 episode 3 (S14E03)
On 3 September 1989, the pilots of Varig Flight 254 enter an incorrect heading into the flight computer. Instead of flying towards its destination, the aircraft flies west and after some time is over a remote area of the Amazon jungle. Attempts to reach an alternative airport are unsuccessful, and the aircraft eventually runs out of fuel. The pilot makes a belly landing in the jungle where 13 people die.
Watch Mayday season 14 episode 1 (S14E01)
On 8 January 1989, British Midland Flight 92 crashes onto the embankment of the M1 motorway near Kegworth, Leicestershire, UK. The aircraft was attempting to conduct an emergency landing at East Midlands Airport. Of the 126 people aboard, 47 died and 74, including seven members of the flight crew, sustained serious injuries.
Watch Mayday season 13 episode 11 (S13E11)
This special looked at how people survive aviation accidents, in part with demonstrations at the Czech Aviation Training Centre.
Watch Mayday season 13 episode 10 (S13E10)
Shortly after take-off from Singapore's Changi Airport on 4 November 2010 Qantas Flight 32, an A380 with 440 passengers, suffers an uncontained failure of it's No. 2 engine.
Watch Mayday season 13 episode 9 (S13E09)
Investigators must figure out why a crew of skilled hurricane hunters were nearly killed after an engine fire crippled their aircraft mid-flight.
Watch Mayday season 13 episode 8 (S13E08)
Above France, a highly trained crew puts a commercial airliner to the test. But as they prepare to land, the captain suddenly loses control.
Watch Mayday season 13 episode 7 (S13E07)
When a flight to Tahiti crashes and kills everyone on board, investigators uncover an unexpected explanation for the crash.
Watch Mayday season 13 episode 6 (S13E06)
When a flight from Italy explodes over the Mediterranean Sea, it takes 30 years to determine whether it was shot down or blown up by terrorists.
Watch Mayday season 13 episode 5 (S13E05)
When a flight from Zurich crash-lands, killing everyone on board, the discovery of drugs among the wreckage suggests an alarming explanation.
Watch Mayday season 13 episode 4 (S13E04)
When American Airlines Flight 587 crashed into Queens, New York after 9/11, it was considered an act of terror - until evidence proved otherwise.
Watch Mayday season 13 episode 3 (S13E03)
Military investigators work with the NTSB to identify what happened when a Marine Corps F-4 Phantom collided with a Hughes Airwest DC-9.
Watch Mayday season 13 episode 2 (S13E02)
Just after taking off, Air Florida Flight 90 plunges into the frozen Potomac River. It takes an ingenious experiment to uncover why it happened.
Watch Mayday season 13 episode 1 (S13E01)
June 18, 1972. Investigators face an enormous challenge when BEA Flight 548 crashes just moments after taking off from London's Heathrow Airport.
Watch Mayday season 12 episode 13 (S12E13)
On 1 June 2009, Air France Flight 447, a scheduled flight from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Paris, France, stalled and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean while flying in a thunderstorm, killing all 216 passengers and 12 aircrew on board. The causes of the crash were incorrect airspeed readings due to ice blockage of the aircraft's pitot tubes, inappropriate control inputs and the pilots not taking recovery action until it was too late.
Watch Mayday season 12 episode 12 (S12E12)
On 21 February 2008, Santa Bárbara Airlines Flight 518 was operating as a scheduled domestic flight from Mérida, Venezuela to Caracas when it crashed into the side of a mountain shortly after takeoff. All 46 passengers and crew aboard the plane died.
Watch Mayday season 12 episode 11 (S12E11)
On 25 January 2010, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409 an international scheduled passenger plane en route to Addis Ababa plunged into the Mediterranean Sea shortly after takeoff from Beirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport during a thunderstorm, killing all 90 people on board.
Watch Mayday season 12 episode 10 (S12E10)
On 10 April 2010, in heavy fog and low visibility, a Tupolev Tu-154M carrying the Polish president Lech Kaczyński, his wife Maria Kaczyńska and other top officials, failed to make the runway and crashed into a wooded area while on final approach to Smolensk North Airport. All 96 occupants on board perished.
Watch Mayday season 12 episode 9 (S12E09)
On 7 September 2011, a Yakovlev Yak-42D carrying the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl professional ice hockey team crashed on take-off at the Volga River, near Yaroslavl, Russia. Out of the 45 occupants only two survived. Five days later one of the survivors (Alexander Galimov) died, succumbing to his injuries.
Watch Mayday season 12 episode 8 (S12E08)
On 28 December 1978, United Airlines Flight 173 ran out of fuel after a landing gear problem. The DC-8 circled in the vicinity of Portland and crashed in a sparsely populated area near 158th and East Burnside Street, killing 10 and seriously injuring 24 of the 189 on board. According to the NTSB, the flight crew failed to check the fuel state causing the plane to crash.
Watch Mayday season 12 episode 7 (S12E07)
On 25 May 1979, American Airlines Flight 191 a McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10 lost its No.1 engine moments after take-off at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and crashed into a trailer park shortly thereafter. All 271 people on board the plane as well as two other people on the ground were killed making it the worst single-aircraft air disaster in United States history.
Watch Mayday season 12 episode 6 (S12E06)
On 30 June 1956, United Airlines Flight 718 and Trans World Airlines Flight 2 collided over the Grand Canyon in Arizona. All 128 occupants on both flights were killed. At the time it was the deadliest airline crash in history, and would lead to sweeping changes in the regulation of flight operations over the United States.
Watch Mayday season 12 episode 5 (S12E05)
On 23 August 2005, TANS Perú Flight 204 attempted to make a landing at Pucallpa Airport, Peru after a severe thunderstorm but crashed into a muddy swamp 4 miles (6.4 km) off the airfield.
Watch Mayday season 12 episode 3 (S12E03)
On 31 October 2000, Singapore Airlines Flight 006 collided on take-off into construction equipment at Chiang Kai-shek International Airport in Taipei during Typhoon Xangsane after taking off on the wrong runway. Out of the 179 passengers and crew, 83 people perished.
Watch Mayday season 12 episode 2 (S12E02)
On 11 May 1996, ten minutes after take-off, Valujet Flight 592 crashed into the Florida Everglades after an in-flight fire started by an accidental triggering of an oxygen cylinder in the cargo area caused the passengers and crew to suffer unconsciousness. On impact, all 110 persons on board were killed instantly.
Watch Mayday season 12 episode 1 (S12E01)
On 8 June 1983, Reeve Aleutian Airways Flight 8's propeller separated from the aircraft over Cold Bay, Alaska causing an explosive decompression and loss of control. The pilot managed to land safely at Anchorage, Alaska. Since the propeller fell into the sea the cause of the separation is undetermined.
Watch Mayday season 11 episode 13 (S11E13)
On 19 July 1989, United Airlines Flight 232's DC-10 was crippled when an engine explodes causing serious damage to the vital hydraulics system causing the plane to go out of control. The plane managed to land at Sioux City but the plane erupted into a fireball shortly after.
Watch Mayday season 11 episode 12 (S11E12)
On 8 October 2001, Scandinavian Airlines Flight 686, a McDonnell-Douglas MD-87 airliner carrying 110 people bound for Copenhagen, Denmark collided on take-off at Milan's Linate Airport into an Air Evex Cessna Citation CJ2 business jet carrying four people bound for Paris, France. The MD-87 plane suffered major damage and crashed into a hangar shortly afterwards. All 114 people on board the two aircraft were killed, the crash and subsequent fire killed a further more four Italian ground personnel in the hangar, and injured four more.
Watch Mayday season 11 episode 10 (S11E10)
On 7 December 1987, an angry former USAir employee by the name of David Burke boarded its parent airline, PSA Flight 1771 en route to San Francisco. The hijacker killed the pilots and shot himself after take off. Shortly afterwards the CVR picked up increasing windscreen noise as the airplane began to dive rapidly and shortly thereafter the plane crashed in a cattle ranch in San Luis Obispo County, California. All 43 people onboard were killed.
Watch Mayday season 11 episode 9 (S11E09)
On 11 July 1991, shortly after taking-off from Jeddah's King Abdulaziz International Airport, Nigeria Airways Flight 2120 suffered an in-flight fire. The crew unsuccessfully tried to return to the airport, the plane breaking up within sight of the runway. The plane was carrying 247 Nigerian pilgrims and 14 crew who all perished.
Watch Mayday season 11 episode 8 (S11E08)
Just minutes from landing in San Diego, PSA Flight # 182 collides with a Cessna and both planes crash in a residential area; investigators must determine what went wrong in the biggest airline disaster in American history.
Watch Mayday season 11 episode 7 (S11E07)
On 22 December 1999, a cargo flight operating as Korean Air Cargo Flight 8509 left London Stansted Airport for Milan, Italy, crashed about 55 seconds after taking off. All 4 crew members died in the disaster.
Watch Mayday season 11 episode 6 (S11E06)
On 9 October 2002, Northwest Airlines Flight 85 is cruising above the Bering Sea before problems develop and pilots must make an emergency landing in Anchorage, Alaska.
Watch Mayday season 11 episode 5 (S11E05)
On 6 February 1958, British European Airways Flight 609, carrying members of the famed Manchester United football team, crashed shortly after taking off from Munich, killing 23 aboard.
Watch Mayday season 11 episode 4 (S11E04)
On its second routine trip of the morning, Continental Express Flight #2574 is nearing the end of its 90-minute flight from Laredo to Houston, Texas. A state-of-the-art Embraer 120 Brasilia, the commuter plane is scheduled to make several more short flights. But just as the pilots are preparing to land, the plane falls out of the sky. Dropping thousands of feet in mere seconds, there is a massive explosion as the aircraft crashes into a farmer's field. All 14 people on board die in the disaster, and the impact is so violent that the wreckage is not recognizable as an airplane. Investigators first suspect there was a bomb on board, but when the theory is dismissed, they dig deeper and eventually reveal a chilling story of good intentions gone horribly wrong.
Watch Mayday season 11 episode 3 (S11E03)
December 12th, 1985
After a six-month peace keeping mission in the Middle East, 248 elite American soldiers are on their way home for the Christmas holidays. Destined for Fort Campbell, Kentucky, they are travelling on Arrow Air Flight #1285, a discount air carrier contracted by the military to transport troops. En route from Cairo, the DC-8 eventually touches down for a routine refueling stop in Gander, Newfoundland. But just seconds after taking off again for the last leg of its journey, the plane immediately loses airspeed and altitude and crashes into a heavily wooded area just outside the remote Canadian town. An unprecedented disaster, it is one of the deadliest aviation accidents of all time and the resulting investigation ignites a storm of controversy that continues to this day.
Watch Mayday season 11 episode 2 (S11E02)
August 16th, 2005
Several hours behind schedule, West Caribbean Airways Flight #708 finally takes off from Panama City en route to Martinique. The aircraft flies through weather so severe that the pilots must divert to avoid it. In addition to the turbulence, the pilots have another problem; their engines are not providing enough thrust. To solve this issue the pilots drop down to a lower altitude, but before they can reach it a Stall Warning fills the cockpit. The plane is flying too slowly to remain airborne. Before the pilots can figure out what has caused the problem, the aircraft drops from the sky and crashes on a remote Venezuelan farm. By far the worst aviation disaster in the country's history, a small team of Venezuelan investigators must now determine what brought down one of the safest airplanes in the world.
Watch Mayday season 11 episode 1 (S11E01)
July 17th, 2007
TAM Airlines Flight #3054 is on its final approach to Sao Paolo's notorious Congonhas Airport. Runway 35-L at Congonhas is one of the busiest and most treacherous airports in the world. It's built on a hilltop, completely surrounded by tall buildings. The crew of Flight #3054 gets a report that the runway is wet and slippery. Captain Henrique Stephanini brings his Airbus A-320 down at the foot of the 1,945 meter long runway, activates the one working reverse thruster and applies the brakes, but his plane doesn't slow down. It hurtles down the runway at top speed, crosses a highway and slams into a building and adjacent gas station. No one on the plane survives. Twelve people on the ground are also killed. This is the worst aviation disaster in South American history. Investigators are under enormous pressure to figure out what went wrong on Brazil's busiest runway, before it claims any more lives.
Watch Mayday season 10 episode 6 (S10E06)
On 25 February 2009, a Turkish Airlines jet crashed during landing at Schiphol airport, killing nine people. What caused the plane to crash?
Watch Mayday season 10 episode 5 (S10E05)
On January 15, 2009 an Airbus 320 callsign US Airways Flight 1549 hit birds just 1 and half minutes after taking off from LaGuardia Airport in New York. The flight just lasted about 5 minutes when the plane hit the Hudson River. This was described as "the most successful ditching of all time".
AKA: Hudson Splash Down
Watch Mayday season 10 episode 4 (S10E04)
In one of the worst American crashes of the past decade, an aircraft approaching Buffalo airport plummets towards the ground and crashes into a suburban house. With a fire raging at the crash site, can investigators find any surviving clues in the wreckage?
AKA: Stalled in the Sky
Watch Mayday season 10 episode 3 (S10E03)
Despite being de-iced twice for winter conditions, both engines fail in a plane departing Stockholm. It falls 3000 feet and breaks in three but everyone survives. What crippled a near-new jetliner?
Watch Mayday season 10 episode 2 (S10E02)
When an aircraft's engines fail during its approach to Heathrow, the captain's quick thinking enables the flight to avoid nearby buildings. The craft crashes just short of the runway and all aboard miraculously survive. But what caused the engine failure in the first place - could Sherlock Holmes theories lend a hand to investigators?
AKA: Heathrow Crash Landing
Watch Mayday season 10 episode 1 (S10E01)
Minutes before they're scheduled to land in Zurich, the pilots of a routine passenger flight can't find the runway. They abort and power up the engines in order to climb. But they are too late.
Watch Mayday season 9 episode 8 (S09E08)
On 19 December 2005, just after take off the right wing of the Chalk's Ocean Airways Flight 101 fell off and the aircraft crashed, killing 20 people. The wing fell off due to metal fatigue that resulted from poor maintenance, financial distress at Chalk's, and a lack of appropriate FAA oversight.
AKA: Beach Crash / Miami Mystery
Watch Mayday season 9 episode 7 (S09E07)
On 20 January 1992, Air Inter Flight 148 crashed into the Vosges Mountains while circling to land at Strasbourg Airport killing 87 people. An error made in programing the autopilot of the Airbus A-320, combined with a sudden wind change, caused the plane to descend more rapidly than expected.
AKA: Crashed and Missing / Doomed to Fail / Invisible Mountain
Watch Mayday season 9 episode 6 (S09E06)
On 10 March 1989, Air Ontario Flight 1363 crashed just after take off, killing 24 people. Three years later, on 22 March 1992, USAir Flight 405 also crashed just after take off in similar conditions to Flight 1363. The cause of the crashes was icing.
AKA Snowbound / Unwelcome Addition
Watch Mayday season 9 episode 5 (S09E05)
On 1 September 1983, during the Cold War, Korean Air Lines Flight 007 was shot down after violating Soviet airspace. The crew did not switch the autopilot from heading to INS mode following take off which caused the aircraft to deviate from its assigned flight path.
Watch Mayday season 9 episode 4 (S09E04)
On 1 February 1991, USAir Flight 1493 collided with the waiting Skywest Airlines Flight 5569 on the runway, killing 34 people. An Air traffic controller mistakenly assigned the inbound Flight 1493 to a runway where the Flight 5569 was waiting to take off.
Watch Mayday season 9 episode 3 (S09E03)
On 26 June 1988, Air France Flight 296 failed to regain altitude and crashed into trees after performing a flyby during an airshow at Mulhouse-Habsheim Airport, killing 3 people.
Watch Mayday season 9 episode 2 (S09E02)
On 16 August 1987, Northwest Airlines Flight 255 crashed shortly after take off, killing 156 people. The crew did not follow the taxi checklist prior to take off.
Watch Mayday season 9 episode 1 (S09E01)
On 22 August 1985, An engine caught fire during the takeoff phase of a British charter flight from Manchester, England to the Greek island of Corfu. Despite a successfully abandoned takeoff, 55 of the 137 passengers and crew are killed as the aircraft burned on the runway.
AKA "Manchester Runway Disaster"
Watch Mayday season 7 episode 8 (S07E08)
On August 6, 2005, a Tuninter ATR-72 ran out of fuel and was forced to ditch in the sea near Palermo, Italy. Of the 39 people on board, 16 lost their lives. The mistake was simply a wrong fuel gauge that sent higher fuel readings than the actual ones.
Watch Mayday season 7 episode 7 (S07E07)
On Halloween 1994, an American Eagle ATR-72 suffered a loss of control and crashed near Roselawn, Indiana killing all 68 people on board. While flying in freezing conditions, ice accumulated on the wings. Inadequate de-icing mechanisms failed to remove the ice, resulting in the disruption of the airflow.
Watch Mayday season 7 episode 6 (S07E06)
In January 2007, an Adam Air Boeing 737 crashed into the Makassar Strait killing 102 people on board. The pilots inadvertently disengaged the autopilot while trying to fix the inertial reference system, causing the plane to plunge to the water.
Watch Mayday season 7 episode 5 (S07E05)
Alternate title: Head on Collision/Crash Course/Collision Course
Find out what went wrong when a Kazakhstan Airlines jet and a Saudi Airways plane collided in the worst mid-air crash in aviation history, killing 349 people on November 12, 1996.
Watch Mayday season 7 episode 4 (S07E04)
An attempt to rescue orphans from the chaos of war-torn Vietnam ended in tragedy when a US plane crashed on April 4, 1975, killing more than 150 people.
Watch Mayday season 7 episode 3 (S07E03)
AKA "Deadly Prize/Silent Killer"
On September 8, 1989, Partnair Flight 94, a charter from Oslo to Hamburg, suddenly begins to dive from 22 thousand feet. The aging propeller plane eventually crashes into the sea, killing all 55 people on board.
Watch Mayday season 7 episode 2 (S07E02)
Shortly after leaving London Heathrow airport in December 1988, Pan Am flight 103 exploded above Lockerbie , Scotland killing 270 people. Investigators soon discovered that a bomb in the forward cargo compartment had taken down the plane.
Watch Mayday season 7 episode 1 (S07E01)
Alternative title: "Shattered in Seconds"
Rescuers have to look to the past to solve the riddle of Flight 611, a China Airlines 747 that disappeared 20 minutes after taking off.
Watch Mayday season 6 episode 3 (S06E03)
This special looks at accidents and incidents where problems with the interface between crew members and onboard avionics were a factor, and the causes of those problems. Episodes re-visited: 1x05-Flying Blind, 4x06-Panic Over the Pacific, 3x07-Kid in the Cockpit, 4x07-Vertigo, 1x03-Flying on Empty.
Watch Mayday season 6 episode 2 (S06E02)
This special looks at accidents caused by seemingly minor defects or errors. Episodes re-visited: 1x06-Cutting Corners, 3x03-Out of Control, 2x02-A Wounded Bird, 1x04-Fire on Board, 4x05-Hidden Danger
Watch Mayday season 6 episode 1 (S06E01)
This special looks at accidents and incidents where pressurization failure or explosive decompression played a part. Episodes re-visited: 3x11-Hanging by a Thread, 2x01-Blow Out, 1x02-Unlocking Disaster, 4x08-Ghost Plane.
Watch Mayday season 4 episode 10 (S04E10)
Alternate titles: "Flight 21 is Missing", "Inbound" and "Flight 21 Is Missing".
A USAF Boeing CT-43 (operating under the call sign IF021) attempts an instrument approach into Dubrovnik Airport in heavy fog. The passengers are mainly government officials, including U.S. Government Secretaries. The pilots attempt the IFR non-precision NDB approach to Runway 12. The aircraft goes off course and hits mountains north of the airport, killing all 35 people on board, including the United States Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown.
Watch Mayday season 4 episode 9 (S04E09)
August 31, 1986:
Aeroméxico Flight 498 is descending into Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) for landing. Meanwhile, a private Piper Cherokee owned by the Kramer family takes-off from an airfield in nearby Torrance. They unwittingly enter LAX airspace but the air traffic controller doesn't notice it due to a distraction by a Grumman Tiger Flight 66R on the screen. Suddenly over the residential district of Cerritos, the Kramers' plane smashes into Flight 498's horizontal stabilizer, shearing off the top of the cockpit of the private plane and snapping half of the tail off from Flight 498. The Kramers die as a result of the impact. The badly damaged DC-9 flips inverted and plummets into the houses below. Everyone on board dies plus 15 people on the ground. The private plane falls out of the sky and crashes into a school playground.
Watch Mayday season 4 episode 8 (S04E08)
Alternative title: "Unconscious Pilot"
14 August 2005:
Helios Airways Flight 522 takes-off from Cyprus. As it flies over Greece, air traffic controllers lose radio contact with it. Fighter jets are sent up to meet with the Boeing 737. One of the jets get close to the plane only to see that the First Officer is alone and unconscious in the flight deck. Everyone in the cabin is also unconscious and oxygen masks are dangling from the cabin ceiling. The captain is missing. Then, the fighter jet pilot witnesses someone enter the cockpit. The mysterious person appears to be trying to regain control of the aircraft, but it is too late. Soon, Flight 522 runs out of fuel and dives into a hill near Marathon. There are no survivors. After a thorough investigation, the mysterious person is found out to be a flight attendant that had been working on the flight who managed to stay conscious by using a portable oxygen mask as opposed to the aircraft's installed oxygen masks. This solved the mystery of who the fighter pilot was looking at before the aircraft went down.
Watch Mayday season 4 episode 7 (S04E07)
AKA "Desperate Dive", "Deadly Disorientation".
Flash Airlines Flight 604 departs Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport in Egypt for Paris. Just after take-off, the aircraft banks right and goes off course. The pilot corrects the roll but the aircraft banks right again. This time the pilot does nothing. The Boeing 737 rolls further and descends into the Red Sea 9km south of Sharm el-Sheikh. Everyone on board is dead. Although many people today claim that the pilot was spatially disorientated, the cause of this disaster is still disputed.
Watch Mayday season 4 episode 6 (S04E06)
Alternate title: "6 Mile Plunge"
February 19, 1985:
China Airlines Flight 006 collides with a jet stream while flying to Los Angeles. The no. 4 engine fails and the pilots try to restart the engine at a much too high altitude. The plane banks slowly to the right but the pilot expects the autopilot to steady the plane. The plane slows down and stalls, sending the passengers and crew into a spiraling nosedive. The sudden actions put everyone under incredible G-forces. The Flight Engineer mistakes readings on the gauges for total engine failures on all engines rather than the Captain putting the throttle to idle. The speed increases and the plane pulls out of the dive but stalls again and falls. The extreme forces rip the undercarriage doors off and pieces of the stabilizers rip off as well. The Boeing 747SP clears the clouds and the pilot sees the horizon. The plane is pulled from the dive, pinning the passengers to their seats. The pilot lands safely at San Francisco despite having trouble with the elevators. 2 people are hurt, but everyone is alive.
Watch Mayday season 4 episode 5 (S04E05)
Alternate title: "Mystery Crashes"
The Boeing B-737 is the most reliable plane in the world. But in 1991, United Airlines Flight 585's rudder fails and the plane nosedives during approach. Investigators know nothing about what caused it. T
hen in 1994, USAir Flight 427 crashes in the same way after take-off. What is causing the crashes? Is there a Hidden Danger in every B-737 in the world?
Watch Mayday season 4 episode 4 (S04E04)
Alternate title: "Blind Landing".
Korean Air Flight 801 crashed on August 6, 1997 on approach to Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport, Guam.
The Korean Air Boeing 747-3B5 jet, designated HL7468, was en route from Seoul, South Korea to Guam. It departed from Seoul-Kimpo International Airport (now Gimpo Airport) at 8:53 p.m. (9:53 p.m. Guam time) on August 5. It carried 2 pilots, 1 flight engineer, 14 flight attendants, and 237 passengers.
The flight was uneventful until shortly after 1:00 a.m. on August 6, as the jet was preparing to land. There was heavy rain at Guam so visibility was significantly reduced and the crew was attempting an instrument landing. At around 1:40, the aircraft was cleared to land at runway 6L. At 1:42, the aircraft crashed into Nimitz Hill, about 3 miles (5 km) short of the runway, at an altitude of 660 feet (201 m). Of the 254 people on board, 228 were killed, most of them by the ensuing fire; only 23 passengers and 3 flight attendants survived.
Watch Mayday season 4 episode 3 (S04E03)
Alternate title: "Fiery Landing"
Air Canada Flight 797 was a scheduled trans-border flight that flew on a Houston, Texas-Dallas/Fort Worth-Toronto, Ontario route. While flying over Louisville, Kentucky, an in-flight fire began in the rear lavatory of the McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32.
The pilots made an emergency landing at the Greater Cincinnati Airport, located in Boone County, Kentucky near Cincinnati, Ohio. During the evacuation, the aircraft doors were opened, causing an influx of oxygen that fueled the fire. 23 of the 41 passengers died from smoke inhalation and a flash fire.
Watch Mayday season 4 episode 2 (S04E02)
Alternate title: "All Engines Failed"
British Airways Flight 009, sometimes referred to as the Jakarta incident, was a scheduled British Airways flight from London Heathrow to Auckland, with stops in Bombay, Madras, Kuala Lumpur, Perth and Melbourne.
On 24 June 1982, the route was being flown by City of Edinburgh, a 747-200 registered G-BDXH, when it flew into a cloud of dust and ash thrown up by the eruption of Mount Galunggung, and all four engines failed. The aircraft was able to glide far enough to exit the ash cloud, and three of the engines were restarted, allowing the flight to divert to Jakarta and perform a safe landing.
Watch Mayday season 4 episode 1 (S04E01)
Alternate title: "Desperate Escape"
Air France Flight 358, an Airbus A340 airliner, departed Paris without incident at 11:53UTC August 2, 2005, later touching down on runway 24L-06R at Toronto Pearson International Airport at 20:01 UTC(16:01 EDT). The aircraft failed to stop and plunged into a nearby shallow ravine, coming to rest and bursting into flames approximately 200 metres past the end of the runway. The Airbus A340-313X had 309 people aboard (297 passengers and 12 crew), all of whom survived without life-threatening injuries
Watch Mayday season 3 episode 13 (S03E13)
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 961 was hijacked on November 23, 1996 en route from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, by three Ethiopians seeking political asylum. The plane crashed in the Indian Ocean near Comoros after running out of fuel, killing 123 of the 175 passengers and crew on board.
Watch Mayday season 3 episode 11 (S03E11)
On 26 September 2000, waves push the MS Express Samina off course, causing it to hit a group of rocks off Paros and sink, killing 80 people. The ferry was on autopilot with the crew not monitoring the ship's course. Instead, they were watching an association football match.
Watch Mayday season 3 episode 10 (S03E10)
On 8 February 1986, a Via Rail passenger train and a 118-car Canadian National Railway freight train collide, killing 23 people. The freight train crew did not stop at a red railway signal on a section of a passing loop, possibly because they were asleep.
Watch Mayday season 3 episode 9 (S03E09)
Aeroflot Flight 593 refers to an accident on March 23, 1994 in which an Aeroflot Airbus A310-304 passenger airliner, registration F-OGQS, crashed into a hillside in Siberia.
The cockpit voice recorder revealed that the pilot's 15-year-old son, Eldar Kudrinsky, was initially at the controls when the incident began, and that he had unknowingly activated an automatic feature of the A310's autopilot that many pilots at the time were unfamiliar with.
All 75 passengers and crew were killed.
Watch Mayday season 3 episode 8 (S03E08)
Flight 990 was a Los Angeles-New York-Cairo flight operated by EgyptAir. On October 31, 1999, at around 1:50 a.m. EST, Flight 990 dove into the Atlantic Ocean, about 60 miles south of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts.
Radar and radio contact with the Boeing 767-366ER aircraft (Registration number: SU-GAP) was lost 30 minutes after the aircraft departed JFK Airport in New York on its flight to Cairo. The flight departed from its assigned altitude (FL330: 33,000 feet) and dove to 16,000 feet, then climbed again to 24,000 then continued to dive, hitting the Atlantic Ocean within the span of 36 seconds.
Watch Mayday season 3 episode 7 (S03E07)
The G-TIGK North Sea ditching was an incident with the Super Puma helicopter G-TIGK on January 19, 1995 in the North Sea. The flight was carrying 16 oil workers from Aberdeen to an oil platform at the Brae oilfield.
En route the helicopter ran into poor weather and was then struck by lightning. This caused severe damage to the tail rotor. Though the helicopter managed to limp for a few more minutes, the tail rotor eventually failed completely and the pilot was forced to turn off the main rotor and let the helicopter fall into the rough seas. Emergency floaters on the helicopter allowed the passengers and crew to be evacuated onto a life raft. In spite of the high waves and bad weather, all the people onboard the flight were rescued.
Watch Mayday season 3 episode 6 (S03E06)
Iran Air Flight 655 (IR655) was a commercial flight operated by Iran Air that flew from Bandar Abbas, Iran to Dubai. On Sunday July 3, 1988, the aircraft flying IR655 was shot down by the U.S. Navy guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes between Bandar Abbas and Dubai, killing all 290 passengers and crew aboard, including 38 non-Iranians and 66 children. The Vincennes was inside Iranian territorial waters at the time of the shoot-down.
According to the U.S. government, the Iranian aircraft was mistakenly identified as an attacking military fighter. The Iranian government, however, maintains that the Vincennes knowingly shot down a civilian aircraft.
Watch Mayday season 3 episode 5 (S03E05)
Philippine Airlines Flight 434 (PAL434, PR434) was the route designator of a flight from Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Metro Manila, Philippines, to New Tokyo International Airport (now Narita International Airport), Narita near Tokyo, Japan, with one stop at Mactan-Cebu International Airport, Cebu. On December 11, 1994, the Boeing 747-283B on the route was on its second leg, from Cebu to Tokyo, when a bomb exploded, killing one passenger. The rest of the passengers and the crew survived.
Watch Mayday season 3 episode 4 (S03E04)
Alternate title: "Suicide Attack"
FedEx Flight 705 was the scene of an attempted hijacking of a McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 on April 7, 1994. Auburn Calloway, a FedEx employee, was due to be fired for lying on his résumé about his previous flying experience with the United States Navy. He boarded the San José, California-bound aircraft, which was loaded with electronic equipment bound for Silicon Valley, intending to murder the flight crew with hammers, and then use the aircraft for a kamikaze attack on FedEx Headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee. His reason for using hammers was so that the injuries inflicted would resemble those occurring in a plane crash - Calloway wanted to disguise the attack as an accident so that his family would benefit from his work's $2.5 million life insurance policy. As a last resort, he was also armed with a speargun, smuggled on board in a guitar case. Calloway attempted to disable the Cockpit Data Recorder to cover his tracks. Unbeknownst to Calloway, the 2 man flight crew that was supposed to fly that flight was replaced by a new 3 man crew, consisting of Pilot Dave Sanders, Co-Pilot James Tucker, and Flight Engineer Andy Peterson. Calloway, a former Navy pilot and a martial arts expert, decided to attack just minutes after take-off. He brutally wounded the flight crew with hammers, and fractured the skull of Co-Pilot James Tucker. A lengthy struggle ensued with the flight engineer and pilot. Co-Pilot James Tucker, also an ex-Navy pilot, managed to control the plane as the 3 men struggled in the cockpit.
Watch Mayday season 3 episode 3 (S03E03)
Japan Airlines Flight 123 was a JAL domestic flight from Tokyo International Airport in Haneda to Osaka International Airport in Itami. The Boeing 747-SR46 that made this route, registered JA8119, crashed into the ridge of Mount Takamagahara in Gunma Prefecture, Japan 100 km from Tokyo, on Monday August 12, 1985. The crash site was on Osutakano-O'ne (Osutaka Ridge), near Mount Osutaka.
It remains the worst single-aircraft disaster in history, and the second-worst aviation accident of all time, second only to the Tenerife disaster. All 15 crew members and 505 out of 509 passengers died (including the famous singer Kyu Sakamoto): a total of 520 deaths. The four female survivors were seated towards the rear of the plane: Yumi Ochiai, an off-duty JAL flight attendant, age 25, who was jammed between a number of seats; Hiroko Yoshizaki, a 34-year-old woman and her 8-year-old daughter Mikiko, who were trapped in an intact section of the fuselage; and a 12-year-old girl, Keiko Kawakami, who was found sitting on a branch in a tree.
Watch Mayday season 3 episode 2 (S03E02)
The DHL shootdown incident in Baghdad occurred on 22 November 2003, aboard an Airbus A300B4-203F cargo plane, registered OO-DLL, operating on behalf of DHL. The aircraft was hit by a missile, which resulted in the loss of its hydraulic systems. It was the first time an aircraft in this condition was landed safely.
Watch Mayday season 3 episode 1 (S03E01)
Aloha Airlines Flight 243 was a scheduled Aloha Airlines Boeing 737-200 flight between Hilo and Honolulu in Hawaii. On April 28, 1988, the aircraft suffered extensive damage after an explosive decompression in flight, but was able to land safely at Kahului Airport on Maui. One crew member was blown out of the airplane and another 65 passengers and crew were injured. The extent of the damage was only just below that which would have caused the airliner to break up, and the survival of the aircraft with such a major loss of integrity was unprecedented and remains unsurpassed.
Watch Mayday season 2 episode 6 (S02E06)
Avianca Airlines Flight 52 was a regularly scheduled flight from Bogotá's El Dorado International Airport to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport via Medellín, Colombia's José María Córdova International Airport. On Thursday, January 25, 1990, the aircraft performing this flight, a Boeing 707-321B registered as HK-2016, crashed into the town of Cove Neck, Long Island, New York after running out of fuel. 73 out of the 158 passengers and crew on board were killed.
Flight: Avianca Airlines Flight 52
AKA: Deadly Delay
Watch Mayday season 2 episode 5 (S02E05)
American Airlines Flight 965 was a scheduled flight from Miami International Airport in Miami, Florida to Alfonso Bonilla Aragón International Airport in Cali, Colombia. Flight 965 crashed into a mountain in Buga, Colombia on December 20, 1995.
Flight: American Airlines Flight 965
AKA: Crash on the Mountain
Watch Mayday season 2 episode 4 (S02E04)
Bashkirian Airlines Flight 2937, registration RA-85816, was a Tupolev 154M passenger jet en route from Moscow, Russia to Barcelona, Spain. DHL Flight 611, registration A9C-DHL, was a Boeing 757-200 cargo jet flying from Bergamo, Italy to Brussels, Belgium. The two aircraft collided in mid-air on July 1, 2002 at 21:35 (UTC) over Überlingen, Germany (near Lake Constance), killing all 71 aboard both aircraft. German investigators determined that the accident had been caused by problems within the air traffic control system; and the controller who was on duty at the time, Peter Nielsen, was later stabbed to death by an architect who lost his wife and both of his children in the accident.
Flight: Bashkirian Airlines Flight 2937; DHL Flight 611
AKA: Mid-Air Collision
AKA: A Father's Revenge
Watch Mayday season 2 episode 3 (S02E03)
Air France Flight 8969 (AF8969, AFR8969) was an Air France flight that was hijacked on December 24, 1994 at Algiers. The crisis was ultimately solved with minimal casualties to innocents by the GIGN, the intervention group of the French Gendarmerie, a law-enforcement agency.
Flight: Air France Flight 8969
AKA: Killing Machine
Watch Mayday season 2 episode 2 (S02E02)
Atlantic Southeast Airlines Flight 529, registration N256AS, was a Embraer Brasilia aircraft that crashed near Carrollton, Georgia on August 21, 1995 while on a flight from the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport in Gulfport, Mississippi.
Nine of the 29 passengers and crew on board eventually died due to injuries suffered in the accident.
Flight: Atlantic Southeast Airlines Flight 529
AKA: Wounded Bird
AKA: A Wounded Bird
Watch Mayday season 2 episode 1 (S02E01)
British Airways Flight 5390 was a British Airways flight between Birmingham International Airport in Birmingham, England and Málaga, Spain. On June 10, 1990 the airplane suffered an explosive decompression when an improperly installed pane of the windshield blew out; the flight crew managed to perform an emergency landing in Southampton with no loss of life.
Flight: British Airways Flight 5390
AKA: Blow Out
Watch Mayday season 1 episode 6 (S01E06)
Air Transat Flight 236 was an Air Transat route between Toronto and Lisbon flown by Captain Robert Piché and First Officer Dirk Dejager. On August 24, 2001, the flight ran out of fuel over the Atlantic Ocean with 306 people (293 passengers + 13 crew) aboard. The flight crew was able to successfully land the plane in the Azores with no loss of life.
Flight: Air Transat Flight 236
Watch Mayday season 1 episode 5 (S01E05)
Alaska Airlines Flight 261 was a flight route operated by Alaska Airlines that provided service between Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, San Francisco International Airport, and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. On January 31, 2000, the flight crashed into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Los Angeles, killing all on board.
During the initial climb, the crew realized that there were problems with control of the aircraft. They determined that the horizontal stabilizer had jammed. Thus, the aircrew could not trim the aircraft, which involves making fine adjustments to the positions of the flight control surfaces to keep the plane stable in flight. This left the aircraft flyable, but difficult to keep level. In an effort to correct the problem, the pilots attempted to overcome the jam with the primary and alternate trim systems. At first, their efforts had no effect. After discussions with airline mechanics and dispatchers on the ground, the crew decided to divert the flight to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Meanwhile, the crew continued to troubleshoot the problem. Seven minutes after the decision to divert, the crew was successful in moving the stabilizer. However, the stabilizer moved all the way to a full leading edge up position. This unexpected movement had the effect of causing the aircraft to pitch down suddenly, entering a dive.
Only by exerting large forces on the control columns were the pilots able to regain some control of the airplane and continue flying toward LAX. After consulting with a mechanic on the ground, the pilots debated attempting to adjust the stabilizer trim again. They finally decided to leave the stabilizer as it was. Less than a minute after that decision, about ten minutes after the first dive, an "extremely loud noise" was recorded on the cockpit voice recorder and the aircraft entered a second and final dive. The plane inverted and impacted the Pacific Ocean at high speed. All 83 passengers and five crew members died on impact.
The flight crashed about twenty miles (thirty-two kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles International Airport into the water off Point Mugu, California. The last radio contact with the aircraft occurred while the plane was passing 17,000 feet at a low speed of 119 knots.
Flight: Alaska Airlines Flight 261
AKA: Fatal Error
Watch Mayday season 1 episode 4 (S01E04)
AeroPeru Flight 603 was a scheduled flight from Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima(LIM), to Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport in Santiago, which crashed on October 2, 1996. The flight originated in Miami, Florida.
On October 2, 1996, just past midnight, the Boeing 757 airliner crew, shortly after takeoff, reported receiving contradictory emergency messages, such as rudder ratio, overspeed, underspeed and flying too low, from the onboard computer; asked for an emergency to be declared and decided to return to base. Faced with the contradictory warnings, the pilot decided to descend. It was only when one wing touched water, almost an hour after emergency declaration, that the pilots realized how confused and disoriented they were. All nine crew members and sixty-one passengers died.
Flight: AeroPeru Flight 603
Watch Mayday season 1 episode 3 (S01E03)
Swissair Flight 111 (SR-111, SWR-111) was a Swissair McDonnell Douglas MD-11 on a scheduled airline flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, United States to Cointrin International Airport in Geneva, Switzerland. This flight was also a codeshare flight with Delta Air Lines.
On September 2, 1998 the aircraft used for the flight, registered HB-IWF, crashed into the Atlantic Ocean southwest of Halifax International Airport at the entrance to St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia. The crash site was 8 km from shore, roughly equidistant between the tiny fishing and tourist communities of Peggys Cove and Bayswater. All 229 people on board were killed.
The resulting investigation by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) took over four years and cost US$39 million (CAD$57 million). Their main conclusion was that flammable material used in the aircraft's structure allowed a fire to spread beyond the control of the crew, resulting in the loss of control and crash of the aircraft
Flight: Swissair Flight 111
AKA: Fire in the Sky
Watch Mayday season 1 episode 2 (S01E02)
American Airlines Flight 1420 was a flight from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to Little Rock National Airport. On June 1, 1999, a McDonnell Douglas MD-82 (registration number N215AA) overran the runway upon landing in Little Rock and crashed.
According to the NTSB's report, the crew of Flight 1420 learned that the winds were changing direction and that a windshear alert had sounded on the airport due to a thunderstorm nearby. The crew was originally told to expect Runway 22L for landing but requested a change to Runway 4R.
As the aircraft approached Runway 4R, a severe thunderstorm arrived over the airport. The controller's last report to the crew prior to landing stated that the winds were 330 degrees at 28 knots. During the rushed approach, the pilots had failed to arm the spoilers, devices atop the wings that reduce lift by "spoiling" airflow. After landing, the first officer stated, "We're down. We're sliding." The aircraft never fully settled onto its landing gear and therefore braking was ineffective. Despite the application of brakes and reverse thrust, the aircraft skidded off the far end of the runway at high speed and crashed into an approach lighting tier, ending up on the banks of the Arkansas River. Such structures are usually frangible - i.e. designed to shear off on impact - but because the approach lights were located on the unstable river bank, they were firmly anchored and the impact destroyed the aircraft. It broke into three pieces and ignited.
The pilot, one of six crew members, died in the crash, along with 10 of the 139 passengers.
Flight: American Airlines Flight 1420
AKA: Fatal Landing
Watch Mayday season 1 episode 1 (S01E01)
United Airlines Flight 811, a Boeing 747-122 (registration number N4713U), took off from Honolulu International Airport bound for Sydney, Australia, via Auckland, New Zealand with 3 flight crew, 15 flight attendants, and 337 passengers aboard.
As the 747 climbed to between 22,000 and 23,000 feet the R5 cargo door tore open, decompressing the cabin and leaving a gaping hole. Five rows of business class seats were blown out of the aircraft, along with nine passengers. Severely injured, a flight attendant was lying down beside the hole caused by the decompression.
Because the cabin was no longer pressurized, the pilots initiated an emergency descent to reach an altitude with breathable air. The explosion had knocked out the number three engine and the number four engine caught fire. Despite only partial flaps (a portion of the shed fuselage damaged the flaps on one wing) and concerns over the plane's landing gear and structural integrity, the crew made a perfect landing and deployed all ten evacuation slides on the aircraft. The evacuation was completed in 90 seconds, with no additional injuries occurring.
Flight: United Airlines Flight 811
AKA: Ripped From the Sky