1989 – United Airlines Flight 232 crashes in Sioux City

UNited Airlines Flight 232 was a routing flight from Denver to Philadelphia via Chicago. However, due to what were later determined to be inadequate standards for maintainence, the tail engine failed, taking all flight controls with it. The flight crew managed the problem in an exemplary fashion, using the two wing engines as rough controls.

The crippled plane limped to Sioux Gateway Airport, in Sioux City, Iowa, where they attempted a landing. Being unable to slow the plane down without controls, they landed at much too high a speed, and the plane broke up on the runway, killing 111 of the people aboard, although 185 others survived, largely due to prompt medical attention provided at Sioux City, and the fact that the crash took place in daylight hours. In the wake of the crash, safety standards were tightened on all US passenger aircraft.

Referenced in:

Crash Flight 232 — Leæther Strip

1991 – Mike Tyson rapes Desiree Washington

Mike Tyson’s career as a boxer was experiencing a brief setback in 1991. Injuries sustained during training had led him to pull out of a planned title challenge against Evander Holyfield, the Heavyweight Champion. We can’t know for sure what was in Tyson’s mind when he called Desiree Washington a little after 1:30 in the morning on July 19, and organised to come pick her up.

They were driven back to his hotel by Tyson’s chaffeur, and accounts vary as to what happened next. Washington claimed that Tyson raped her, Tyson claimed that they had consensual sex. The weight of evidence – and Tyson’s unlikable demeanour in the courtroom – led the jury to convict Tyson of the rape, and he served three years in prison for the crime.

Referenced in:

The Thanksgiving Song — Adam Sandler

2001 – Malcolm Blight sacked as coach of St Kilda

Malcolm Blight was one of the champion Australian Rules players of his era. He played in the VFL for North Melbourne, kicking 444 goals in 178 games, and won the Brownlow Medal, the game’s highest honour, in 1978.

After retiring from playing, he coached for several seasons at different teams, including two premiership victories with the Adelaide Crows. But as time went by, his coaching fell behind the times.

In 2001, he became the coach of St Kilda, signing a $1 million (Australian) contract with the team. The season was unsuccessful. In particular, relations between Blight and players soured increasingly as the season progressed. He was sacked after round 15, having led the team to only three victories in those 15 games.

Referenced in:

Don’t Come Back – Human Nature