Air Disasters – Swamp Air Crash




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ValuJet Flight 592 was a flight that crashed on May 11, 1996 en route from Miami International Airport in Miami, Florida, United States to Hartsfield International Airport (now known as Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport) in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. The crash was a large factor in undermining the credibility of the low-cost carrier ValuJet Airlines (now known as AirTran Airways).

The 27-year-old DC-9 aircraft on this route, N904VJ, previously owned by Delta Air Lines [1], took off after a delay of 1 hour and 4 minutes at 2:04 pm and began a normal climb. However, at 2:10 p.m. the crew asked air traffic control for a return to Miami due to smoke in the cockpit and cabin. Captain Candi Kubeck and First Officer Richard Hazen were given instructions for a return to the airport. Seconds later, shouts of "fire, fire, fire, fire" were recorded on the plane's cockpit voice recorder coming from the cabin. A flight attendant opened the cockpit door and informed the flight crew that the cabin was on fire. The ValuJet flight attendant manual stated that the cockpit door should not be opened when smoke or other harmful gases may be present in the cabin. However, the intercom was disabled, and there was no other way to inform the pilots of what was happening. By this time, the plane's interior was completely on fire.

Flight 592 disappeared from radar at 2:14 p.m. It crashed in Browns Farm Wildlife Management area in the Everglades, a few miles west of Miami, at speeds in excess of 500 miles per hour. Kubeck, Hazen, the three flight attendants, and all 105 passengers aboard were killed. Recovery of the aircraft and victims was made extremely difficult due to the location of the crash. The nearest road of any kind was more than a quarter of a mile (401 m) away from the crash scene, and the location of the crash itself was summarized as a deep-water swamp with a bedrock base. The DC-9 shattered on impact with the bedrock, leaving very few large portions of the plane intact. Sawgrass, alligators, and risk of bacterial infection from cuts plagued searchers involved in the recovery effort.

Simulated in FS2004 (FS2004 Special). By Wenjie ROX.

This is a true story, all reconstructions are based on orginal air traffic transcript and eyewitnesses accounts.

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