On March 27, 1977, at Los Rodeos airport in Tenerife, Pan Am Flight 1736 was sitting on the taxiway waiting to take off. A thick fog obscured the approach of KLM 4805, as it bore directly towards them.
Nearly half a century later, it remains history's deadliest air crash. The 1977 collision of two jumbo jets at a tiny airport in the Canary Islands horrified the world and sent investigators scrambling to understand what happened. Witness the runway disaster that claimed the lives of 583 passengers and crew. Then watch as examiners from Spain, the Netherlands, and the U.S. sift through the wreckage, the tower transcripts, and one pilot's flight log to untangle the chain of events that led to this catastrophic accident.
Watch this episode online now.
and hundreds more by starting your free trial of Smithsonian Channel Plus.
Access even more free Smithsonian Channel full episodes and documentaries online through participating TV providers.
Find out if your television provider carries Smithsonian Channel.
Don't panic! It's simple to upgrade to the latest version of one of these browsers:
Don't panic! To get the best possible experience on smithsonianchannel.com we recommend you upgrade your operating system.
For the best possible site experience, please use Chrome for Android.
Add username "SmithsonianChan" on Snapchat for fun and fascinating facts. We'll be sharing spontaneous photos and videos as inspiration strikes.