Crash Landing at Sioux City
Crash Landing at Sioux City
Crash Landing at Sioux City
Vital statistics
Series Seconds from Disaster
Title Crash Landing at Sioux City
Airdate September 13, 2005
Disaster United Airlines Flight 232
Date July 19, 1989
Kind Air and Space
Nature Engine Failure, Hydraulics Loss, Uncontrollable Landing
Fatalities 111

Crash Landing at Sioux City is the 20th episode of Seconds from Disaster investigates how a simple engine failure took down a plane.

Plot Edit

United Airlines Flight 232, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10, loses hydraulic pressure after the tail-mounted no.2 engine's fan blade splits and disintegrates. The damage to the aircraft is so severe that it can only turn right. The pilots try to land at Sioux City, Iowa. As the DC-10 descends towards the runway at 6 times the normal descent rate, it rolls right, causing it to break up into three main parts and explode into a fireball. 111 of the 285 people on board are killed in the emergency landing.


The investigation, while praising the actions of the flight crew for saving lives, would later attribute the cause of
  • Flight 232 in the news
  • Flight 232 on impact, seen through a restriction fence
the accident to a failure of United Airlines maintenance processes and personnel to detect an existing fatigue crack. Post-crash analysis of the crack surfaces showed the presence of a penetrating fluorescent dye used to detect cracks during maintenance. The presence of the dye indicated that the crack was present and should have been detected at a prior inspection. The detection failure arose from poor attention to human factors in United Airlines' specification of maintenance processes.