The day of the Tenerife airport disaster – level 2


It is March 27, 1977. A big plane is ready to take off from the Spanish island of Tenerife. There are 248 people on board.

There is also another big plane slowly moving on the runway. There is thick fog on the runway. Visibility is very low, and the pilots of both planes don’t see each other.

The pilots communicate with the control tower over the radio. Unfortunately, there is a misunderstanding in the communication. The second plane is still on the runway hidden in fog when the pilot of the first plane starts to take off.

He already goes very fast on the runway when he sees the second plane. He tries to lift his plane into the air, but it is too late. The planes are already very close to each other and a big collision happens.

The collision and fire kill everyone on board the first plane. Only 61 people survive from the second plane. Altogether 583 people die. It is the worst plane accident in history.

Difficult words: thick (difficult to see through), visibility (the distance which is possible to see), control tower (a building at an airport which controls planes), misunderstanding (not correct understanding), lift (to move up into the air), altogether (when you speak about the total number).

What safety measures were put in place after the Tenerife disaster to prevent future accidents?


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