· From the tragic farewell of a seven-year-old
trainee to the mutterings of a confused flight crew, we count ten of the saddest last words
from pilots who are about to crash! 10 – Cessna 177B,
· Jessica Dubroff was a seven-year-old pilot-in-training whose dream was to become the youngest person
to fly a light utility aircraft across the United States.
· On April 11th 1996, Jessica, along with her father and flight instructor, attempted
to take off from Cheyenne Regional Airport in Wyoming in a Cessna 177B Cardinal single-propeller
aircraft. · Unfortunately, conditions were poor that
morning, with heavy rain and strong gusty crosswinds, and Jessica’s flight instructor
lost control of the plane minutes after takeoff. All three died instantly.
· Jess had been on the phone to her mother at the time. Her heartbreaking final words
were: ‘Do you hear the rain? Do you hear the rain?’
9 – Pacific Southwest Airlines 182, · On the 25th of September 1978 the San Diego-bound
Pacific Southwest Flight 182 – a Boeing 727 with 128 passengers on board – collided
with a private Cessna 172, causing the deaths of 144 people.
· The two aircraft crossed flight paths unexpectedly and Flight 182’s seven-person flight crew
momentarily lost all trace of the Cessna, resulting in the deadly collision.
· The crew’s final words before the power and instruments failed included: ‘We’re
hit, we’re hit!’, ‘It’s bad…’ and ‘This is it, baby’. The captain’s
tragic last remark was: ‘Ma, I love you.’ 8 – Surinam Airways 764,
· Surinam Airways Flight 764 was a commercial flight from the Netherlands’ Amsterdam Airport
to Paramaribo-Zanderij International Airport in Suriname.
· On the 7th of June 1989, the flight crashed while approaching its destination. 176 of
the 187 on board died, making it the deadliest aviation disaster in Suriname’s history.
· An investigation revealed the crew’s training was grossly inadequate and did not
meet international standards. The crew also displayed terrible judgement by knowingly
attempting to land using an inappropriate navigation signal and ignoring risk alarms.
· The last recorded words from the cockpit were: ‘That’s it, I’m dead.’
7 – Air Canada 621, · On the 5th of July 1970, Air Canada’s
Flight 621 was travelling its usual flight route of Montreal to Los Angeles. However,
pilot error caused the McDonnell Douglas DC-8-63 craft to crash during a landing attempt in
Ontario. · Captain Peter Hamilton and First Officer
Donald Rowland had flown together many times, and directly caused the crash by ignoring
the airline’s safety protocol. By choice, they failed to arm the ground spoilers – which
are deployable flaps on a plane’s wings that reduce airflow – at the start of the
plane’s final approach, instead preferring to arm them on the ground.
· 109 people died on board, and First Officer Donald’s final words were ‘Pete, sorry.’
Presumably he’s apologising for his aviation mistake, but without context the apology could
be like ‘Sorry for crashing your car that time’ or ‘Sorry for sleeping with your
wife.’ 6 – Air Asia Flight QZ8501,
· On the 28th of December 2014, an Air Asia Airbus flying from Indonesia to Singapore
crashed during bad weather. Seven crew members and 155 passengers were killed and debris
and human remains were later found floating in the Java Sea.
· The crash was caused by a malfunctioning rudder travel limiter unit, which led to a
104-degree roll of the aircraft, and an apparent miscommunication between the pilots.
· Playback of the recovered black box was especially unnerving for investigators. In
their final moments, the pilots repeatedly chanted the Islamic phrase ‘Allahu Akhbar’,
meaning ‘God is greatest’. 5 – Vladivostokavia 352,
On the 4th of July 2001, Vladivostok Air Flight 352, the commercial flight from Yekaterinburg
to Vladivostok, lost control and crashed while approaching Irkutsk Airport.
136 passengers and nine flight crew members were killed, making it the third deadliest
aircraft crash over Russian territory. As the plane approached Irkutsk, the pilots
had lowered the landing gear, not realising that the plane was banking. The aircraft was
at a 45-degree angle with the nose dropping, and the co-pilot tried to rectify this by
violently pulling back on the control column, causing an immediate stall.
Unfortunately, at this point the plane was too close to the ground and impact was
inevitable. The pilot’s last words were, ‘That’s all guys! Fuck!’
4 – Pacific Airlines 773, · On the 7th of May 1964, a disturbed man
aboard Pacific Airlines Flight 773 told fellow passengers that he was going to kill himself.
This was pre-security checks, so he’d actually managed to bring a loaded handgun aboard.
· The enraged killer shot both the pilot and co-pilot, and then turned the gun on himself.
Without a pilot, the plane plummeted into a Californian hillside, killing all forty-four
people on board. · According to the flight recording, the
last words spoken were: ‘Skipper’s shot! We’ve been shot. I was trying to help.’
· Fortunately the chances of this happening nowadays are virtually nil, as you can’t
even board a plane with a plastic spoon or pencil eraser. Try it and you’ll end up
in a headlock on the floor. ‘Get down! We know what you’re planning to do with that!’
3 – Air New Zealand 901, · On the 28th of November 1979, Air New Zealand’s
Antarctic sightseeing flight, Flight 901, crashed into Mount Erebus, killing all 237
passengers and twenty crew members. · The crash was caused by pilot error and
the resulting outcry from the public led to the establishment of the Royal Commission
of Enquiry. Most of the wreckage still remains on the mountain today.
· The pilot’s last words: “Actually, these conditions don’t look very good at
all, do they?” 2 – LOT Polish Airlines 5055,
· On the 9th of May 1987, LOT Polish Airlines’ Flight 5055 crashed into the Kabaty Woods
outside of Warsaw Poland. · The flight never made it to its New York
destination, as the engine shaft disintegrated and exploded due to faulty bearings. All 183
people on board died, making it the deadliest aviation to ever occur on Polish soil and
the deadliest overall accident of 1987. · The poetic final words from the flight
crew were: ‘Goodnight, goodbye, we perish!’ 1 – TransAsia Airways Flight 235,
On the 4th of February 2015, TransAsia Airways Flight 235 experienced a fatal crash
just two minutes after taking off from Taipei Songshan Airport. Forty-three of the fifty-eight
on board died. After an engine flameout, the pilot mistakenly
switched off the plane’s second engine, which was the only working one. This was the
second fatal accident involving a TransAsia Airways ATR aircraft within seven months.
The Aviation Safety Council’s report showed that Captain Liao Jian-zong had failed
the simulated training less a year earlier because he could not demonstrate knowledge
of how to deal with an engine flameout on takeoff.
Liao’s last words were, ‘Wow, pulled back the wrong side throttle…’