This Day in Failure: September 11

2001: As air traffic controllers attempt to clear U.S. airspace following the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, Korean Air Flight 85—en route from Seoul to New York—mistakenly issues a hijack alert at 1:24 p.m. (EDT) while approaching Alaska. Two F-15 fighters tail the Boeing 747 and notify air traffic control in Anchorage that they will shoot down the plane if it fails to turn away from populated areas. Officials order the pilot to steer clear of Anchorage and Flight 85 lands safely in Whitehorse, Canada at 2:54 p.m. (EDT), despite the fact that the plane’s transponder emits the universal hijack code for the final 90 minutes of the flight.

2001: At 8:45 a.m. (EDT) American Airlines Flight 11 crashes into the north tower of the World Trade Center; 9:03 a.m., United Airlines Flight 175 crashes into the south tower of the World Trade Center; 9:43 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon; 10:05 a.m., The south tower of the World Trade Center collapses; 10:10 a.m., United Airlines Flight 93 crashes in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, southeast of Pittsburgh; 10:28 a.m., The north tower of the World Trade Center collapses. In all, the terrorist attacks claim 3,025 victims.

1991: After breaking up in the air over Eagle Lake, Texas, a Continental Express Embraer 120 commuter plane crashes near Houston, killing 14 people. The accident is attributed to a maintenance inspector, who fails to finish screwing in the plane’s horizontal stabilizer, and subsequently fails to follow proper procedures in communicating the unfinished work to other maintenance workers.

1970: Ford Motor Company introduces the Pinto, the best selling and headline grabbing compact car known for the design flaw that would cause its gas tank to explode in a rear end collision over 20 mph. Court proceedings would later reveal that Ford was aware of the problem but declined to correct the error, estimating that the cost of fixing the flaw would exceed the cost of all legal actions.