It's August 2008 and Spanair Flight 5022 is late taking off from Madrid-Barajas airport. Seconds after lift off, the unthinkable happens as the plane starts to veer right, then crashes violently into the ground.
Just seconds after taking off from Madrid International Airport, Spanair Flight 5022 rolls to the right and slams into a riverbank beside the runway. In spite of the massive rescue effort, only 18 of the 172 people on board survive. Spain quickly recruits an international team of experts to investigate this puzzling disaster. How could a sophisticated jet, manned by an experienced crew, crash on takeoff? A long preflight delay, an airline in financial trouble, and a blazing August afternoon may help provide the answer.
Now, you can watch Smithsonian Channel's incredible documentaries and shows anytime you want by purchasing from any of these distributors:
Access even more free Smithsonian Channel full episodes and documentaries online through participating TV providers.
Find out if your television provider carries Smithsonian Channel on air.
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.