Skip to main content

tv   Why Planes Crash  MSNBC  August 9, 2015 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT

7:00 pm
>> a d.c. ten cartwheels down a runway and goes into pieces. >> i thought the plane was corkscrewi corkscrewing. >> a d.c. eight runs out of fuel and crashes in a residential neighborhood. >> i thought we were landing at the airport. i was very delighted and then the delight turned to fear. >> you didn't land? >> negative. >> oh my god. >> weather problems reek havoc in the air. a 747 caught in a torrential
7:01 pm
downpour violently slams into a hill. >> initial contact to finally stopping was about 17 seconds and i got to say that's the longest 17 seconds of my life. >> in the air, communication can make the difference with life and death. dramatic dramatic animations take you inside crashes and what caused them. >> skied is there anything you would do different today than you did that day? i said yeah, i would call in sick. the airline industry can be divided into two eras.
7:02 pm
crew resource management is the training all major airlines use to improve communication for flight crews. >> before crm the captain was the one decision-maker in the cockpit. you were expected to talk to him only when you had something tech in this case to -- tech say. >> crm breaks down the barriers of communication between two or three crew members in an airplane and enables pilots to enact as a team and come up with a common solution rather than individuals coming up with an individual solution. >> having crm training or not could mean the difference between a plane crashing or not. it may seem like a given that this kind of training would have always been around, but it didn't even exist until 1981. since then, crm has been the gospel in the cockpit. >> it comes down to one word,
7:03 pm
team work. team work solves the problems. >> all of us are smarter than any of us. >> crm is the greece that makes the wheels resolve but you got to have the wheels turning in the right direction to begin with. >> the idea of crm started percolating in the 1970s after several plane crashes were attributed to communication problems in the cockpit but one accident in particular is the catalyst that puts this radical new concept on the map. on december 28th, 1978 a shocking moment when a united airlines d.c. 8 slams down in a residential neighborhood of portland, oregon. six miles shy of the airport. passenger amy ford conner, 17 at the time, is on her way back to washington state where she's about to finish her senior year
7:04 pm
of high school. >> what it felt like is when you first land and you kind of do a little bounce, that's what it felt like. so i thought we were going to have a fine landing at the airport. it's a nightmarish ending to what started as a routine flight. united 173 takes off from denver at 2:47 p.m. 189 people are on board. the first officer is at the controls. >> it was right after christmas. the plane was absolutely full. we were all going back to where we were going after spending the holidays elsewhere. it was a perfectly ordinary flight until we started making the final approach to the portland airport. the first time that we realized something was wrong was when we heard a very loud thunk and the plane jolted. >> the thunk heard around 5:10 p.m. is the side of one plane's landing gear falling into position and the other are
7:05 pm
extended normally. the force causes the plane to vibrate and yaw or pull to the right. a light in the cockpit to indicate the landing gear is down and locked does not illuminate. >> when the landing gear extends under normal system operation it's hydraulic and extends at a given rate very smoothly. in the case of united 173, what occurred is it fell out and fell at a very rapid rate and one of the other components of the landing gear also broke free and in so doing damaged the wiring that closes the switch that lights the light. >> captain mcbroom doesn't want to land until he's confident the landing gear is locked because if it collapses on touchdown, the plane could be badly damaged and the passengers injured. the captain wants time to troubleshoot the problem. >> the pilot got on the p.a. and
7:06 pm
said we're having a little trouble with the landing gear. we're going to be in the air just a little bit longer this is a pretty common problem, don't worry about it. >> captain mcbroom was a very experienced pilot, tens of thousands of hours and 5,000 hours as a captain of the dc 8 he was flying that night. so this was mr. dc 8 expert and that may have convinced him if if he just studied a little more into the manual and talked to the people in the maintenance center, he would figure out whether or not this landing gear would collapse. >> by 5:14 p.m., air traffic control knows united 173 has a problem. portland approach control clears the plane to enter a holding pattern, which it does for the next hour. during that time, the captain maintains close contact with the cabin crew. >> what he kept asking from the flight attendants was what was the status? were they ready? the cabin prepared?
7:07 pm
it fully prepared? he was very, very concerned about protecting the passengers and what he was not hearing was the fact that the two other pilots, the first officer and flight engineer were getting increasingly concerned about fuel. >> the crew members are concerned but they are not clearly expressing it to the captain. they continue to focus on the landing gear problem. >> one of the flight crew came back with a flashlight because it was dark outside to check the landing gear to see if he could see out the window but that was our first clue that something really was wrong. >> on the dc 8 there are mechanical indicators of the mechanical position. it's a pin on top of the wing that you can see. >> if the pin is up, the gear is locked. if not, the gear is retracted. >> so that you have a mechanical indication to either validate or invalidate what the light in the cockpit is telling you. >> the longer the jet remains in
7:08 pm
a holding pattern, the more alarm the first officer and flight engineer are becoming about the fuel situation. at 5:50 p.m., 18 miles south of the airport, one of them speaks up but still, not forcefully. >> the flight engineer is staring at the fuel gages and said not enough. that's going to run us very close out here but in the precrm era, you didn't challenge these authority figures. >> the first officer and flight engineer both insinuated and made statements but they were not direct. they didn't say captain, we are running out of fuel. we have to go to the airport right now. >> the d.c. 8 left denver with nearly 47,000 pounds of fuel. by 5:55 p.m., only 4,000 pounds remain. but the captain still thinks they can make it to the airport. the passengers know nothing about the dire fuel situation.
7:09 pm
they are concerned about a possible belly landing. >> the pilot got on the pa again and said we'll make the land income five minutes. we're making our final approach. when we're 60 seconds away, i'm going to let you know so you can assume brace positions and be prepared for a belly landing in case that's what we have and he never made that one-minute announcement. >> 6:03 p.m., air traffic control wants to know when they will begin the approach. captain mcbroom replies quote another three, four, five minutes end quote. but united 173 doesn't have that much time. coming up, out of fuel and out of options. >> as it became increasingly apparent that the they were not going to make the airport, the question comes up is where are we going to put the jet? >> i thought we were landing at the airport. i was very delighted and the delight turned to fear.
7:10 pm
no sixth grader's ever sat with the eighth grade girls. but your jansport backpack is permission to park it wherever you please. hey. that's that new gear feeling. this week, filler paper and folders just one cent. office depot officemax. gear up for school. gear up for great. did you know that the tripadvisor you have always trusted for reviews book...! now checks over 200 websites to find the best price? book...! book...! book...! so don't just visit tripadvisor, book...! at tripadvisor
7:11 pm
♪ i ride the highway... son begins to play) ♪ i'm going my way... ♪i leave a story untold... he just keeps sending more pictures... if you're a free-range chicken, you roam free. it's what you do. if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance, you switch to geico. it's what you do. ♪ two wheels a turnin'... ...of fixodent plus adhesives. they help your denture hold strong more like natural teeth. and you can eat even tough food. fixodent. strong more like natural teeth. fixodent and forget it.
7:12 pm
some neighbors are energy saving superstars. how do you become a superstar? with pg&e's free online home energy checkup. in just under 5 minutes you can see how you use energy and get quick and easy tips on how to keep your monthly bill down and your energy savings up. don't let your neighbor enjoy all the savings. take the free home energy checkup. honey, we need a new refrigerator. visit and get started today.
7:13 pm
united flight 173 has been flying in a holding pattern near the portland oregon airport for more than an hour. the captain wants time to troubleshoot a possible landing gear problem but now, something far more urgent is on the horizon. >> portland tower, united 173, mayday, mayday, the engines are flaming out, we're going down. we're not going to be able to make the airport. >> the passengers are aware of the increasingly dire situation. >> the only lights on were reading lights and some people realized that something was wrong and yelled for us to get our heads down. >> the plane has run out of fuel and it's coming in fast over a wooded residential area. captain mcbroom heads towards
7:14 pm
the only unlit spot he can see below, between the houses. the plane barely clears an apartment building. >> i thought we were landing at the airport. i was very delighted. and then, the delight turned to fear because i had no idea what was going on. ♪ ♪ >> it just felt like it was never going to stop. >> as the plane tears through the trees, the front section violently rips away. >> it wasn't until after we stopped moving that i really grasped the enormity of what just happened. >> the aircraft is destroyed. ten people all sitting in the front section that separated die from the impact trama. the rest of the passengers are dazed. >> it was so cold, although, when you're running on adrenaline you don't really
7:15 pm
notice those sorts of things but we walked off the plane, and then we were in this neighborhood. nobody knew where we were. we just were milling about like what do we do now? >> a four engine plane went down near the airport. it smashed through two vacant houses. >> once on the scene, ntsb investigators quickly determine there is no fuel leak, no broken fuel gauges, no problem at all with the airplane. so why did the well run dry? the answer comes from the plane's cvr, cockpit voice recorder. >> when i played the cvr for the first time, i realized we have explaining to do and this is an accident that should never have happened. >> dr. al deal at the time a human factor specialist with the ntsb can't help but notice the cvr reveals a disturbing similarity to a number of other
7:16 pm
recent crashes. >> the giant try star left a half-mile long path of debris in the swamp. >> we looked the at the eastern airlines everglades crash and there we lost over 100 people started out as the landing gear light and the crew became distracted and flue into the swamp. another united d.c. 8 one year prior to the portland crash same thing, they had a landing gear problem and troubleshooting and flew into a mountain. >> the common link, none efficient or communication in the cockpit. this failure to communicate is literally crashing planes. deal knows something has to be done to stem the tide. he begins building a case for airlines to adopt a training procedure developed by nasa called crew resource management, crm. >> crm is basically promoted that if you're going to walk together as a team, you're going
7:17 pm
to make a decision as a team. you come to a joint solution, not an individual solution that is then worked into the equation. >> up to that point, we only taught the technical aspects of flying. they had the stick and rutter skills but never taught decision making and judgment in a formal way. a guy with one of the top air safety investigators on the board said al, if you can sell this to the bored, it will be something. >> it provides deal with more compelling evidence to take to the safety bored. two 747s collide in the canary islands in 1977. the accident kills 583 people and is blamed in large part on bad communication. >> the whole cabin next to me was just completely gone.
7:18 pm
>> less than six months after the portland crash, the ntsb issues the final report. it sites possible cause as quote the failure of the captain to monitor properly the aircraft's fuel state and the crew members advisories regarding fuel state. a contributing factor, the failure of the other two flight crew members to successful communicate their concern to the captain. >> communication in the cockpit is 95% of the success of the airplane flight itself. >> united 173 is a catalyst for change. the faa, federal aviation administration approves dr. deal's crm recommendation. in 1981 united airlines kicks off the industries first crm training program. >> united was an easy sell. remember, united lost three
7:19 pm
airlines. united management was ready to jump on board and quickly spent the money to develop this. >> as veteran united captain al haynes recalls, the training was initially received with a dose of skepticism. >> those captains that needed it, didn't want it and wouldn't do it so we thought this is a waste of time until it began to get into the flow of things and then we understood what it was about. coming up, captain haynes has no way of knowing a few years later, training to improve communication between crew members will help him get through one of the most terrifying situations a pilot could ever face. a catastrophic loss of control of a jumbo jet.
7:20 pm
7:21 pm
7:22 pm
a catastrophic inflight failure renders a dc10 virtually
7:23 pm
out of control. the crash lands and catches fire, killing more than 100 people and leaving investigators to solve a troubling aviation mystery. july 19th, 1989, united airlines flight 232 takes off from denver's stapleton international airport bound for chicago. first officer william records, who has logged 20,000 hours of flying time, is at the controls. with him second officer dudley devorat with 15,000 hours and captain al haynes who has logged 27,000 hours, 7,000 in the dc10. on this picture perfect midwestern summer day with three highly experienced pilots in the cockpit it should be an easy flight. >> scattered clouds, good visibility, smooth air, very fortunate weatherwise. >> as we're flying along and
7:24 pm
everything is as smooth as can be and service is falling and working well as a team, out of the blue here comes this explosion. i mean, it was a huge loud explosion. >> but passenger rod vetter, a seasoned traveler, isn't fazed. >> my first thought was a bomb went off. then i realized that it hadn't depressurized so it wasn't a bomb, and then i realized it was probably an engine blowing, and my first thought was, okay, we got off a little late maybe and we're going to get right on chicago because a dc10 can certainly fly with two engines. >> the explosion happens at 3:16 p.m., an hour and seven minutes into the flight. the jumbo jet is at 33,000 feet over alta, iowa. after the explosion, the plane
7:25 pm
begins to vibrate and shutter. pilots determine the number two engine has failed. >> i began to realize how serious it was when i saw the flight crew come back, and they were trying to look out the windows, the passenger windows, just to observe what was going on with the physical condition of the airplane. and you could tell by looking at the flight crew that something serious was up. >> and as they go through the checklist, officer bill records, who was flying the plane, realized they had a more serious problem than they thought. >> we were shutting airplane down and going through procedure and bill said what he likes to call the attentiongetting statement of the day i can't turn. he can the control wheel all the way left and all the way back to his left.
7:26 pm
>> he wrestles the plane back to a wing's level position. >> with the steering the aircraft started to roll over on its back and would have continued to roll over and dive into the ground and be destroyed except for the fact that at that moment al haynes reached over and retarded the throttle on the left wing and the asymmetric thrust picked the wing up slowly and steadied the aircraft. if he hadn't done it within a few seconds of when he did it, it would have been unrecoverable. >> but united 232 still has monumental problems. from the cockpit, pilots call the flight attendants' phone to make sure the cabin and passengers are prepared for an emergency landing. >> i picked it up, and they said come to the cockpit.
7:27 pm
the minute the door opened the atmosphere just hit me full force. it was like oh, no, this isn't an emergency. it's a [ bleep ] crisis. >> the situation is grave. the plane has lost all of its hydraulic fluid. >> hydraulics in a modern large jet airplane is the lifeblood of the airplane. it is how you physically move the flight controls. it provides the muscle to move these very large surfaces against very fast moving air in a controlled manner. >> we were keeping an ear, i'll put it that way. control, no. we were just trying to keep it flying. it was doing what it wanted to do. >> in the midst of the chaos a flight attendant informs the crew there's a united captain who was a dc10 flight instructor sitting in first class. his name is denny finch, and he's offering to help. >> he said go tell them i'm
7:28 pm
here, can i help. as soon as he said he was there, i said yes he can help. he's an instructor. >> in the past bad communication has led to disaster. now all hope is riding on teamwork to avoid a catastrophic outcome. coming up, the final shocking seconds of united flight 232. >> there was an announcement that this is going to be a seriously difficult landing. this allergy season, will you be a sound sleeper, or a mouth breather. a mouth breather! well, put on a breathe right strip and shut your mouth. allergy medicines open your nose over time, but add a breathe right strip and pow! it instantly opens your nose up to 38% more.
7:29 pm
so you can breathe and sleep. add breathe right to your allergy medicine. shut your mouth and sleep right. breathe right and look for the calming scent of breathe right lavender in the sleep aisle. if an electric toothbrush was going to clean better than a manual. he said sure... but don't get just any one. get one inspired by dentists. with a round brush head. go pro with oral-b. oral-b's rounded brush head cups your teeth to break up plaque, and rotates to sweep it away.
7:30 pm
and oral-b delivers a clinically proven superior clean vs. sonicare diamond clean. my mouth feels super clean. oral-b. know you're getting a superior clean. i'm never going back to a manual brush. no sixth grader's ever sat with but your jansport backpack is permission to park it wherever you please. hey. that's that new gear feeling. this week, filler paper and folders just one cent. office depot officemax. gear up for school. gear up for great.
7:31 pm
so i'm always looking kito get more fore. my money. that's why i switched from u-verse to xfinity. they have the most free on demand tv shows and movies on all my devices. it's perfect for me because my kids are costing me a fortune. i'm going to cabo! [ music plays ] don't settle for u-verse. xfinity is perfect for people who want more entertainment for their money. hi, i'm richard lou. the man suspected of killing and shooting parents and six kids in their home had a contentious relationship with the mother. passengers died when a germanwings flight crashed into the french applps. investigators say the plane's
7:32 pm
copilot locked the captain out and purposely crashed the jet in march. now back to our regular programming. on july 19th, 1989, united airlines flight 232 is in deep crisis. after an explosion, the dc10 loses its tailmounted number two engine along with all of its hydraulic fluid which operates the landing gear, glass, slats, steering and brakes. the only control pilots have is over the throttles which determine engine speed. by adjusting thrust on one side or the other, pilots are able to steer the plane. but even under this unimaginable pressure, captain al haynes manages to crack a joke with air traffic controller alan backman. >> you're clear to land on any
7:33 pm
red line. >> you want to be particular, make it a runway. >> runway united flight instructor danny finch flying in first class has offered to help and is now in the cockpit. captain haynes willingness to accept fitch's offer is crew resource management in action. >> he would not have said anything prior to crm because you don't go up to the cockpit and bother a captain when you've got a problem. >> captain finch was a perfect addition to an already effective crew, but he was an additional asset. >> i said take the throttles. i was asking him to do this and do that and he kind of fell into the pattern of what to do and we didn't have to say so much anymore. >> as united 232 approaches the airport, the pilots dump as much fuel as they can. this lightens the plane which increases their ability to control it. meantime, in the cabin senior flight attendant jan brown following faa protocol advises parents to place lap children on the floor. those are kids under 2 years old without paid seats. she's about to announce that
7:34 pm
passengers should brace for impact when captain haynes overrides her on the p.a. >> there was an announcement that this is going to be a seriously difficult landing. >> it's going to be rough. do the best you can. >> the plane is traveling at 247 miles per hour. 100 miles an hour too fast for a dc10 to land without hydraulic fluid, the controls that would normally slow the plane down don't work, and because they can't be properly configured the ground proximity warning system doesn't realize that the pilot is trying to land. it begins to sound, adding to the chaos in the cockpit. >> the left wing was coming up and we want the left wing down so we said left, left, left, left, left. >> i never thought it would be
7:35 pm
fine because we was going too fast and the original descent was too big and i knew something was going to happen. >> at exactly 4:00 p.m., 44 minutes after the problem began, a violent impact. >> as the right wing hit the ground, the tail snapped off. the entire tail of the plane broke off just as if it were a toy and went rocketing down the runway at 250 miles per hour. i heard explosions and loud noises and flashes of light, and it had to be with the plane breaking apart. >> al could have kept telling us that it would have been rough, but i could never in my wildest dreams have imagined smashing into the earth the way we did. >> as jumbo jet careens out of control it breaks into pieces and fires erupt. it's hard to fathom anyone surviving the flames and the
7:36 pm
thick black smoke. the nose of the plane, which contains the cockpit, is crushed beyond recognition. the pilots are presumed dead. incredibly, all four are alive but injured. this photo captures first responders talking to the crew. >> they don't just start cutting. they got to size it up because with all the wire bundles and all of that sheet metal and very small compact environment, you could actually inflict greater harm or injury to those occupants trying to rescue them. >> of 296 passengers and crew, 112 are killed, including 11 children. one of them is a lap child without a paid seat. >> they can't be in a car by law without being in a seat. what are they doing in an airplane going over 500 miles an
7:37 pm
hour? it's russian roulette. >> in the wake of the crash, the questions began immediately. how could this plane with its clean safety record suffer such a catastrophic failure in flight? right away there are some key clues. at the accident scene, a critical component called the fan disc is missing from the number two engine. it isn't found until three months later in a field 70 miles away in alta, iowa. that's where the plane experienced that initial violent jolt. these photos taken by a witness on the ground as united 232 was about to slam into the runway also provide investigators with critical information. >> you can see that there are holes in the horizontal stabilizer from the debris as
7:38 pm
the fan disc had separated from the engine core and created shrapnel taking large chunks out of the horizontal stabilizer. in the second picture you can actually see the back side of the engine where the fan disc actually came out. >> by november 1990, 15 months after the crash, the ntsb pieces together what happened to united 232. over a farm in alta, iowa, the fan's fan disc imploded with calamitous results for the plane's hydraulics, the life blood of the jet. >> it sent shrapnel going in a multitude of directions, and it just happened that the shrapnel ended up cutting lines to all three systems. the statistical likelihood is extremely low, but in the case of 232, it actually happened. >> the titanium fan disc is determined to have a crack dating back to its fabrication. every time the engine is used, the microscopic crack grows. the ntsb determines probable
7:39 pm
cause to be united inspectors failure to detect the crack. united airlines disputes the finding, but in the end, the ntsb upholds its report. >> i think that the united inspection team did what they believed to be a proper and complete job, or they wouldn't have signed the component off as air worthy. we have gotten better at nondestructive testing. that was one of the takeaways out of this, that we had to get better. >> not only does the inspection process improve as a result of this accident, so does the manufacturing process used to create titanium fan discs. beyond those lessons learned, united 232 is a testament to teamwork in the cockpit. executed with perfection that day, crew resource management implemented only eight years earlier helped save 184 lives that might otherwise have been lost. >> left, left, left, left, left.
7:40 pm
>> i was asked is there anything you would do differently today than that day and i said, yeah, call in sick. >> this team made very good decisions out of an airplane that was virtually unflyable. one individual no matter how skilled an airman would not have been able to do that. >> coming up, unfortunately, that kind of teamwork is not in play eight years later on the tiny pacific island of guam. >> they are burned, skin hanging off their arms and their faces. i've smoked a lot and quit a lot, but ended up nowhere. now i use this. the nicoderm cq patch, with unique extended release technology, helps prevent the urge to smoke all day. i want this time to be my last time. that's why i choose nicoderm cq. the tripadvisor you've always trusted for reviews, book! now checks over 200 websites to find the best price?!
7:41 pm
so don't just visit tripadvisor... book at tripadvisor.
7:42 pm
7:43 pm
i've got two reasons to take that's why i take meta. meta is clinically proven to help lower cholesterol. try meta today. and for a tasty heart healthy snack, try a meta health bar. a 747 gets caught in a heavy downpour over the tiny western
7:44 pm
pacific island of guam. then, just three miles from its destination, korean air flight 801 slams into the side of a hill and breaks into pieces. eight minutes later, two air traffic controllers come to the sickening realization the plane has crashed. >> did korean air come back to you? >> no. >> he checked about landing. i don't know where he's at. >> you never saw him? >> negative. >> he didn't land? >> negative. >> oh, my god. >> 1 of the 254 people on board is new zealander barry small. unlike many of his fellow
7:45 pm
passengers who are tourists and honeymooners, small is on his way to work as a helicopter pilot and mechanic on a large koreanowned fishing boat. the jet lifts off from seoul, south korea at 10:05 p.m. local time. the date, august 6th, 1997. >> the flight itself from seoul to guam was nothing out of ordinary. just a pleasant night flight. >> with a median temperature of 89 degrees, guam has an agreeable climate, but there's a grim flip side to that. august is rainy season with an average rainfall of more than 12 inches. as the 747 approaches the airport it runs right into a cell of heavy rain moving in from the northeast but small in seat 36k over the right wing doesn't worry. >> i can see the lights of guam out of the righthand side of the aircraft, and we were ascending without a carriage down.
7:46 pm
everything seemed normal to me. i reached down to get my shoes, and as i was about to grab them, there was a great thump, and i thought oh, we've landed earlier than expected. initial contact with the ground itself and the passengers were really surprised, just a firm one, and -- >> at first, remarkably small doesn't even realized they have crashed, but as the 747 careens out of control and starts breaking apart, the horror of the situation becomes clear. >> the shaking of the aircraft got worse and worse to the point where you couldn't control your body. we were just like rag dolls being thrashed around in our seats. >> the plane has slammed into a rugged piece of terrain called nimitz hill, just three miles short of the destination runway.
7:47 pm
as it continues on its violent trajectory, the landing gear strikes an oil pipeline pushing part of it on to the road and spilling a thousand gallons of oil in the process. >> they calculated from initial contact to finally stopping was about 17 seconds. i've got to say that's the longest 17 seconds of my life. >> fire erupts in the cabin. small is trapped. his right leg broken by the metal cross bar on the bottom of the seat in front of him, a common injury in plane crash victims. small's left leg is saved because of a bag he's placed under the seat in front of him. he manages to unbuckle his seat belt and hobble to the rear of the aircraft where he jumps out, escaping the flames. he drags himself nearly 200 feet away and just as he turns around for another look, small says a series of explosions rock the cabin with people still trapped
7:48 pm
inside. >> there were pieces falling short of us, like bombs, and the screaming got horrendous. and the flames just increased again and the screams slowly faded away. >> small has survived the impact, but he desperately needs help. >> we got maybe a quarter mile down here, we stopped and we all ran to the crash site to get down to where we could hear the screams and you could see the fire. >> carl gutierrez, governor of guam at the time, rushes to the site with members of his staff. >> i ran down and found barry small with his leg broken and bone sticking out and gave him a cover also because the rain -- you know, he was incapacitated that way that he couldn't cover his eyes. >> by the time rescuers arrive,
7:49 pm
52 minutes after the crash, barry small is stabilized, but for most of the other passengers on korean air flight 801, it's too late. coming up -- what could lead a highly experienced crew to mistake a hill for a runway? >> when you have fatigue, it affects your decisionmaking. you don't really process information. >> they were suddenly finding thins were stacking up, then suddenly they're much closer to the ground than they expected. . ha-ha! shall we dine? [ chuckle ] you wouldn't expect an insurance company to show you their rates and their competitors' rates, but that's precisely what we do. going up! nope, coming down. and if you switch to progressive today, you could save an average of over 500 bucks. stop it. so call me today at the number below. or is it above? dismount!
7:50 pm
oh, and he sticks the landing! to folks out there whose diabetic nerve pain... shoots and burns its way into your day, i hear you. to everyone with this pain that makes ordinary tasks extraordinarily painful, i hear you. make sure your doctor hears you too! i hear you because i was there when my dad suffered with diabetic nerve pain. if you have diabetes and burning, shooting pain in your feet or hands, don't suffer in silence! step on up and ask your doctor about diabetic nerve pain. tell 'em cedric sent you. no sixth grader's ever sat with but your jansport backpack is permission to park it wherever you please. hey. that's that new gear feeling. this week, filler paper and folders just one cent. office depot officemax. gear up for school. gear up for great.
7:51 pm
7:52 pm
hand apparently, they also lovee what's up with these things, victor? we decided to give ourselves stickers for each feature we release. we read about 10,000 suggestions a week to create features that as traders we'd want to use, like social signals, a tool that uses social media to help with research. 10,000 suggestions. who reads all those? he does. for all the confidence you need. td ameritrade. you got this. you've got burns. you've got broken leg. >> good as gold. >> passenger barry small has survived a violent impact of a 747 slamming into nimitz hill three miles short of the runway
7:53 pm
in the u.s. territory of guam. more than 200 of his fellow passengers are killed. within hours, the rescue effort becomes an investigation scene. the ntsb has challenges from the outset. >> we're talking about take a day and a half to get there, then once there it was very rugged, hilly terrain, getting down to the accident site was hot, humid. it was kind of difficult conditions to work from. >> as with virtually all plane crashes, there's no single cause. investigators quickly uncover a long list of problems leading up to the accident. to begin with, a key navigational aid called a slide slope is out of service for a scheduled reconstruction. >> the glide slope is a radio signal being beamed up from the ground to the airplane that provides electronic vertical guidance. >> together with a localizer, which provides lateral guidance, pilots align the plane with the
7:54 pm
runway. with 9,000 hours in the cockpit, the captain is experienced. he knows the faa has issued an advisory that the guam glide slope is out of service, but in the last 2 1/2 minutes of the flight, the glide slope needle starts to move. >> he believed that that movement was, in fact, due to the fact that the glide slope may be working. >> because the glide slope is down, korean 801 is flying a nonprecision approach, which is more complex. that means the plane closes in on the runway in a step-down procedure, each step is a predetermined minimum altitude which planes must stay above. but according to the ntsb, the captain appeared to become preoccupied with the status of the glide slope, allowing the plane to descend prematurely into nimitz hill.
7:55 pm
>> they misinterpreted how the approach was being configured. and the captain never fully understood that, in my opinion. >> the safety board also concludes that fatigue played a role in the accident by degrading the captain's performance. in the days prior to the crash, he's flown between three continents. he's suffering from bronchitis. and it's the middle of the night. >> when you have fatigue, it affects your decisionmaking. you're a bit impaired mentally because the fatigue takes over. you don't really process information. >> there are even more factors at play. august is the height of rainy season in guam. the captain might have been counting on a visual approach to the runway, but the jet flies into a downpour, making it difficult to see. >> so they were suddenly finding things were stacking up. they're not 100% sure where they are on the ground track. they're looking for visual cues that the heavy rain is preventing them from seeing, and then suddenly they're much closer to the ground than they expected.
7:56 pm
>> flight 801's mounting problems are compounded by the crew's failure to communicate. >> the first officer and the flight engineer make comments that indicate their increasing level of concern, but they're soft comments. >> the cockpit voice recorder shows that up until 40 seconds before the plane crashes, the captain is still confused over the status of the glide slope, even though the first officer has finally stated it's not usable. the crew complies with the captain's commands, despite their concerns. probable cause, according to the ntsb? the captain's failure to adequately brief and execute the nonprecision approach and the first officers and the flight engineer's failure to effectively monitor and cross-check the captain's
7:57 pm
execution of the approach. >> one of the findings that we made after listening to the cvr and bringing all the other additional information in as far as their culture and their training program, was the influence of this societal culture, the fact that you had junior officers who basically hinted and hoped to the captain, you shouldn't do that, you shouldn't follow the glide slope, but weren't assertive in actually correcting him or even taking command of the airplane away from the captain to prevent an accident. >> any one problem might not have been significant, but together for 228 of 254 people on board this jet, all of those problems are fatal. this is the first time guam's former governor carl gutierrez has set foot on nimitz hill since the time of the accident. like many of the survivors, he assisted on that tragic night, he hopes for closure on that painful chapter.
7:58 pm
>> i just wanted to get there and see there's still some spirit lingering around in that area because there was a lot of agony that morning. i mean, really a lot of agony that i haven't been back since. and i haven't been as close as to where we were at today. >> in the 1980s and '90s, korean air has more than a dozen accidents with a death toll of 750. the airline is seen as so problematic, the u.s. department of defense prohibits employees from flying on its planes, and canada threatens to ban korea air from flying over its air space altogether. but then a major turnaround. korean air hires david greenberg, a retired pilot turned vp from delta airlines. he institutes new policies and procedures and completely revamps communication in the cockpit.
7:59 pm
>> you have national culture, you had corporate culture and you had pilot culture. you can't change national culture, but what the corporate culture does to mold and shape the pilot culture is critical. >> the incredible changes that happened in a short period of time are impressive. >> the industry has come a long way since the days of authoritative captains and crews reluctant to assert themselves. since crew resource management, crm, has been instituted, the number of aviation accidents has decreased significantly. >> crm is one of the reasons that aviation is as safe as it is today. it's one of the quantum leaps that aviation safety was able to make was making pilots better team members. >> it has probably been one of those things that you can't quantitatively measure, but the effect that it's had on the success and safety of aviation today has been enormous.
8:00 pm
due to mature subject matter viewer discretion is advised. i told her i just wanted to spend the weekend with her, i was going to spend my whole paycheck on her. >> a planned romantic weekend turns into a nightmare. for one young couple. >> i'm the youngest one in here. it is scary. i can't sleep at night. people scream in their rooms. it's really scary. >> a fight sends two women to


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on