Date: May 25, 1979
Fatalities: 272

The DC-10 left Chicago O’Hare on the Friday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend only for its left engine to detach from its wing and fall off, rolling the plane in the air and sending it crashing to earth just a mile from the runway.

The plane “burst into a pillar of flame and smoke that could be seen up to eight miles away,” the Chicago Tribune reported at the time. All 271 people on board and two on the ground were killed in what remains America’s worst aviation disaster.

The crash was found to be the result of a shortcut taken by removing the plane’s engines for maintenance, cracking an aluminium component which held the engine to the wing.

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