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The Nation

September 15, 1987

The Aug. 16 crash of Northwest Airlines Flight 255 was so sudden that the pilot did not radio any warning to air traffic controllers that he had trouble with the jetliner, government documents showed. The Federal Aviation Administration released a recording of the conversation between the cockpit crew and controllers that showed the jetliner crashed in a ball of fire, killing 156 people, less than 90 seconds after taking off from Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus, Mich. Only Cecilia Cichan, 4, survived. The last words of the cockpit crew to the controllers were to acknowledge direction just before the plane was about to take off--"Right to zero six cleared to go two fifty-five."

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