Crash of Delta 191: 32 years since hell 'ripped open'

Delta Flight 191 crashed on August 2, 1985 killing 137 people on board. WFAA reporter Dave Cassidy filed one of the first reports from the scene.

DALLAS - Wednesday marked the 32nd anniversary of the crash of Delta Flight 191 at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

The Lockheed L-1011 jumbo jet was coming in for a landing on a rainy Friday evening Aug. 2, 1985, when it encountered a "microburst" that sent the aircraft careening along the ground north of runway 17L, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. The plane struck a car on Texas Highway 114, killing its driver, then broke up in a fireball as it slammed into two large above-ground water tanks.

The crash killed 136 passengers and crew on board plus the motorist; 27 people survived the impact.

The NTSB investigation said although the pilot was experienced and competent, training in dealing with microbursts was lacking. After the crash, pilots were required to train to react to microbursts and quickly take evasive action. Since then, weather forecasting and windshear detection also has improved.

Memories of the crash are still fresh for Dallas viewers who posted their accounts on WFAA's Facebook page.

"My father was on that flight," Kirsten Monberg Gappelberg said. "Today we will convene with first responders at Founder's Plaza at 6 p.m. to remember that day."

"I remember Dixie Dunn, one of the senior flight attendants lost on the crash," wrote Linda Newman. "A beautiful soul."

"I was at the airport that day, with my two-year-old, picking up my husband on a flight that was supposed to land around the same time," Paula Cooper shared. "I'll never forget seeing the awful black smoke. People were parking in the middle of the road and running towards the crashed plane. I saw the crinkled up tanks on the north end of DFW that had been hit by the wings of the L-1011. I remember being absolutely stunned that anyone survived that awful crash."

Matt Lewis, who was working on the flight line for Delta that day, said the storm had blown luggage carts from the gate like they were child's toys.

"Later that evening, some of the other employees and I went to the crash site to volunteer," he wrote. "I was only 19 at the time, and I remember thinking that hell had ripped open and was right in front of me."

© 2017 WFAA-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment