Friday, July 20, 2018
Public safety

20 years ago today: ValuJet Flight 592 crashes in Everglades, killing all 110 aboard

ValuJet Flight 592 almost made it back to Miami.

The airliner, bound for Atlanta, was 100 miles into its journey when the pilots reported at 2:14 p.m. they had smoke in the cockpit and were turning around.

But 11 minutes after takeoff, the plane with 110 souls aboard slammed into the Everglades about 15 miles northwest of Miami International Airport, gouging a crater in the muck that quickly filled with water, fully submerging all but shards of the aircraft.

Everyone on board died.

It was 20 years ago Wednesday, May 11, 1996.

Daniel Muelhaupt, a private pilot, was flying toward Naples and witnessed the crash.

"It shot like a bullet into the ground," Muelhaupt told CNN. "When it hit the ground, the water and dirt flew up. The water went up about 100 feet. It was terrible. The wreckage was like if you take your garbage and just throw it on the ground, it looked like that."

Rick DeLisle, a student pilot who was flying with Muelhaupt, said, "There was nothing in the sense of fire. It was almost like what I would call a mushroom cloud. It went up 100 feet."

The crash was quickly attributed to a fire in the cargo hold. A yearlong investigation spread blame among the federal government, the airline and a maintenance contractor.

The National Transportation Safety Board said SabreTech, a maintenance contractor in Miami, made a series of blunders that allowed 144 oxygen generators to end up on the DC-9. The generators fueled the fire.

The NTSB also blamed ValuJet for failing to keep a close eye on SabreTech and blamed the FAA for refusing to require smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in airplane cargo compartments.

"The ValuJet accident resulted from failures up and down the line — from government regulators, from executives in the boardroom to workers on the shop floor," said NTSB chairman Jim Hall.

The crash eventually led to the installation of smoke detectors and firefighting equipment throughout the nation's commercial air fleet.

And in July 1997, ValuJet acquired AirTran Airways, shedding the name that had become synonymous with tragedy.

Atlanta businessman Terry Huckabee was scheduled to take Flight 592 but missed it.

"I lost a dollar in the vending machine, and I said, 'I'm having a bad day. I missed my flight. I lost a dollar in the vending machine,' " he recalled at the time. "They said, 'No, you're the luckiest man alive ...' "

 
Comments
Watch: Florida woman brought to tears upon realizing she left her 8-month-old son in a hot car

Watch: Florida woman brought to tears upon realizing she left her 8-month-old son in a hot car

A Volusia County woman was brought to tears on Tuesday after she returned to her car to see her 8-month-old son still alive and healthy after she left him inside hot car with the windows closed.Accompanying her baby, however, was a Volusia County dep...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
At least 11 dead after Missouri duck boat sinks; search for 5 resumes

At least 11 dead after Missouri duck boat sinks; search for 5 resumes

Authorities say 11 people died after a duck boat carrying about 31 passengers capsized and sank Thursday on Table Rock Lake near the tourist town of Branson, Missouri.Some of the dead passengers were children, Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader told rep...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Police: Pinellas infant on life support after father stuffs balled-up baby wipe down his throat

Police: Pinellas infant on life support after father stuffs balled-up baby wipe down his throat

TARPON SPRINGS — Cali’yah Anderson heard a scream Tuesday night and she thought someone was dying. "Help me! Help me! I can’t get it out!" Anderson sprinted into the living room at 1410 Starlight Cove two doors down from her own apartment and found a...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Dive outing among friends turns deadly Wednesday evening in Weeki Wachee

Dive outing among friends turns deadly Wednesday evening in Weeki Wachee

WEEKI WACHEEIt was the first time Said Marjane and his friends had gone free diving near the Eagle’s Nest, in a pool of water in the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area in Weeki Wachee better known as the entrance to a dangerous cave-diving site....
Published: 07/19/18
Hernando sheriff: Two dead after three shootings in Hudson, Spring Hill

Hernando sheriff: Two dead after three shootings in Hudson, Spring Hill

SPRING HILL — A string of shootings in Pasco and Hernando counties Thursday left two people dead, including the suspected shooter, and another person seriously injured, authorities said.Theodore Parker, 41, shot at a woman at her home on Chestnut Dri...
Published: 07/19/18
Judge grants ex-girlfriend’s restraining order against ex-Plant QB Robert Marve

Judge grants ex-girlfriend’s restraining order against ex-Plant QB Robert Marve

PLANT CITY — Robert Marve hesitated to get out of his attorney’s car when they pulled into the parking lot of the Plant City Courthouse on Thursday afternoon. The former Plant High and University of Miami quarterback was there to plead no contest to ...
Published: 07/19/18
Deputies: One man hurt after convenience store shooting near Clearwater

Deputies: One man hurt after convenience store shooting near Clearwater

CLEARWATER — Pinellas County Sheriff’s detectives are investigating a shooting at a convenience store that left one man hurt.According to the Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to the Circle A Food Store at 1201 Sunset Point Road about 3:30 p.m. Th...
Published: 07/19/18
Rabid bat clings to woman’s arm in Sun City Center parking lot

Rabid bat clings to woman’s arm in Sun City Center parking lot

SUN CITY CENTER — A Sun City Center woman got an unusual surprise as she used the bathroom in her home Monday — a rabid bat clinging to her arm.According to the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County, the woman was helping a friend into ...
Published: 07/19/18

Car thefts continue in Pinellas, this time in Tarpon Springs

TARPON SPRINGS — Police officers arrested five people, including three kids, accused of stealing a Lexus from St. Petersburg and trying to break into cars 30 miles north in Tarpon Springs.According to Tarpon Springs police, officers about 1:30 a.m. s...
Published: 07/19/18
Deputies: 18-year-old woman injured in Dunedin shooting is pregnant

Deputies: 18-year-old woman injured in Dunedin shooting is pregnant

DUNEDIN — A woman shot this week by a masked intruder is 20 weeks pregnant, the Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.Naomi Rosado, 18, is in intensive care at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg. The condition of her baby is unknown, the agency said.At about 1 ...
Published: 07/19/18