35 Years Ago: Flight 255 Crashes After Taking Off From Detroit Airport
Nearly 35 years ago, 156 people died after Northwest Flight 255 crashed just moments after taking off from Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
On August 16, 1987, Northwest Flight 255 was headed for Arizona when it suddenly crashed onto Middlebelt Road and into an overpass on I-94.
The Tragic incident is considered the deadliest plane crash in Michigan history.
All but one of the 155 people on board died that tragic day. Yes, there was only one survivor from Northwest Flight 255. The world was shocked to hear that the only survivor was a 4-year-old little girl named Cecelia Cichan.
According to sources, it was the second-deadliest aviation accident at the time in the United States. It is also the deadliest aviation accident to have a sole survivor.
Aside from those that died on Flight 255, two people who were in vehicles on the ground also lost their lives that day.
Why Did Flight 255 Crash on August 16, 1987?
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the flight crew’s failure to use the taxi checklist to ensure that the flaps and slats were extended for takeoff. Contributing to the accident was the absence of electrical power to the airplane takeoff warning system which thus did not warn the flight crew that the airplane was not configured properly for takeoff. The reason for the absence of electrical power could not be determined.
I was only 13 years old when Flight 225 crashed but I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember sitting with my parents in our living room watching it on the news. You can watch some of that news footage below.