Flight 255: A Day Remembered

DETROIT – On Aug. 15, 1988, Local 4's Mort Crim hosted a special program about the devastating plane crash which happened just a year before at Middlebelt Road and I-94. 

Northwest Airlines Flight 255 crashed shortly after takeoff from Detroit Metropolitan Airport on August 16, 1987, at about 8:46 p.m. All six crew members and 148 of 149 passengers were killed. A 4-year-old girl, Cecelia Cichan, was the sole survivor.  

At the time, Flight 255's crash was the second-deadliest plane crash ever in the U.S. 

Full story: Flight 255 crash: 30 years later

"A Day Remembered" aired on Local 4 the night before the 1-year anniversary of the crash. It includes interviews with witnesses and victims' family members. 

One such family member, Sarah Brown, lost her husband Harry Brown in the disaster. She recalled her last moment with him before he left for the flight. 

I just kissed him on the cheek and I put my hand on the door of the car and something just kind of checked me. I turned around and I looked at him, I said: 'Harry, you be careful. I love you.' And he said, 'Don't worry about it. I'll be OK. I'll give you a call tonight.'"

We here at ClickOnDetroit dug this 30-minute special out of the Local 4 Vault to share as we commemorate the 29th anniversary of the horrific event.

Mort Crim closes the special with the following voiceover, in part:

What remains now are the images, and the imaginings of our minds. The images are striking. They’re frighteningly large and chillingly small. Long scars on the face of the pavement. Pieces of tin and fiberglass on a hillside laid bare by a summer’s drought. There are the sounds: A little girl literally screaming for her life in the back of a speeding ambulance, her awful wail merging with the whine of its howling siren into an unbearable cry for help. And the silence. The quiet that all who were there that night recall. The silence that shadows the intersection of impact and the hills of fire yet today, even amid the rumble of the unceasing traffic. The ever-fluid life of travel along Middlebelt had returned to normal. But for those who were there, for those who look today and see, and for those who can’t forget 255, much can never be the same." 

See more about Flight 255 crash: