25th anniversary of Flight 255, a full look back

25th anniversary of Flight 255, a full look back

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ROMULUS, Mich. (WJBK) -

Thursday marks 25 years since Northwest Airlines Flight 255 crashed in the Detroit suburb of Romulus.

The Phoenix-bound jetliner crashed on Aug. 16, 1987, killing 154 people aboard and two on the ground. The lone survivor was Cecelia Cichan, who was 4 at the time.

Play the video as Fox 2's Jason Carr takes a look back at this tragic event.  He talks with a former Sergeant of the Wayne County Sheriff's Department, Bruce Schneider, who was among the first to arrive on the scene.  Jason also talks to a man who bought a ticket on the flight, but never got on the plane.

The plane was just clearing the runway at 8:46 p.m. when it tilted slightly. The left wing clipped a light pole, and the damaged airliner sheared the top off a rental car building.

The McDonnell Douglas MD80 left a half-mile trail of bodies, charred wreckage, magazines and trays of food along Middle Belt Road when it crashed on Aug. 16, 1987.
 
The National Transportation Safety Board concluded the plane's crew failed to set the wing flaps properly for takeoff. The agency also said a cockpit warning system did not alert the crew to the problem.

The memorial event is set for Thursday night at the Northwest Flight 255 memorial site on the embankment of Middlebelt Road at the entrance to Interstate 94 in Romulus.  The service is to include a reading of the names of the victims.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

 

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