Segments in this Video

Crash Reenactment (01:53)


On March 27, 1977, two airplanes crashed in the Canary Islands.

Worst Air Disaster in History (02:01)

583 people died when two airplanes crashed in the Canary Islands. Survivors recall the event.

Approaching Las Palmas (02:43)

Pan Am flight 1736 is nearing the Canary Islands on March 27, 1977. Passengers were looking forward to vacation and unaware of local terrorists determined to get freedom from Spain.

Chain of Events (03:16)

Terrorists choose Gando Aiport as their target. Dutch passengers on a KLM flight are looking forward to landing. Three tour guides who live in the Canary Islands are on board.

Terrorist Attack (02:26)

Passengers aboard Pan Am flight 1736 prepare to land. An explosion requires Gando Airport to shut down. Inbound traffic must be diverted.

Flights Diverted (02:31)

The KLM plane is sent to Los Rodeos Airport at Tenerife along with other commercial aircraft. Dutch pilots are only allowed to fly a certain number of hours.

KLM Landing Checklist (03:31)

Pan Am flight 1736 passengers are anxious to land. Air traffic controllers at Los Rodeos Airport are not prepared for increased traffic.

KLM Landing (03:02)

Pan Am flight 1736 passengers are concerned about the diversion. The KLM flight lands at Los Rodeos Airport.

Traffic Jam (02:57)

Air traffic controllers attempt to organize incoming planes at Los Rodeos Airpor. A KLM passenger has a bad feeling as he and the others disembark.

Pan Am Flight 1736 Landing (03:22)

Dozens of planes have been diverted to Los Rodeos Airport. KLM passengers crowd the terminal. Survivors from the Pan Am flight recall the day.

Life Saving Decision (03:25)

Bad weather makes conditions unpredictable for pilots and air traffic controllers at Los Rodeos Airport. Dutch pilots discuss flight time limits.

Gando Airport Reopens (03:03)

Passengers at Los Rodeos are called to re-board flights. A runway coordinator recalls the chaos. Dutch pilots for KLM make plans to refuel before takeoff.

Passengers Re-Board (01:50)

Two Dutch children are missing as KLM passengers are called to re-board. One woman chooses not to get on the airplane.

Stuck on the Runway (02:49)

Pan Am pilots try to sneak past the KLM aircraft as it refuels.

Lost Children Found (03:45)

Two Dutch children are missing as the KLM flight prepares to take off from Los Rodeos Airport. Pan Am passengers are tired and frustrated.

Preparing for Takeoff (02:10)

KLM pilots start their engines and prepare for take off. Weather makes conditions unpredictable. Pan Am pilots prepare to follow.

Limited Visibility (03:48)

A Pan Am pilot describes weather conditions at Los Rodeos Airport. KLM pilots prepare for takeoff. Air traffic controllers give unclear instructions.

Confusion on the Runway (02:45)

Pan Am pilots try to decipher unclear instructions given by the air traffic controllers at Los Rodeos Airport.

Working Blind (02:43)

Air traffic controllers at Los Rodeos Airports are unable to see aircraft on the runway. Pan Am pilots are still confused about which exit to take. A KLM pilot is concerned about Dutch flight time restrictions.

The Crash (03:28)

Pan Am and KLM flights are facing each other on the runway but unable to see through the fog. Permission to takeoff must be obtained separately from ATC clearance.

Immediately After the Crash (03:07)

Pan Am survivors recall the crash at Los Rodeos. A flight attendant remembers make an announcement to get passengers off the plane amidst the fire and debris.

Survival Mode (02:08)

Survivors from Pan Am flight 1763 recall trying to exit the plane after the crash.

Help Is On the Way (02:57)

Air traffic controllers at Los Rodeos Airport learn of the crash. Emergency workers reach the KLM site first unaware that there is a second plane. Survivors recall the event.

Waiting to Be Rescued (03:15)

Survivors from the Pan Am flight recall jumping from the wing of the plane. Air traffic controllers learn about the second crash site 20 minutes after the crash.

International News Coverage (02:35)

Every one on board the KLM flight died in the explosion. Many Pan Am survivors were transported to the hospital by taxi cab. A morgue was set up in an airplane hanger.

Investigation Results: Part 1 (03:00)

Investigators from Spain, Holland, and the U.S. arrived at the crash site. They were able to piece together the chain of events that led to the worst air disaster in history.

Investigation Results: Part 2 (04:10)

Stress over KLM flight time restrictions and the decision to refuel the plane were major factors in the crash. Limited visibility and distracted air traffic controllers also played a role.

Investigation Results: Part 3 (03:21)

Dutch investigators claimed that Pan Am pilots were at fault for being on the runway. The KLM captain took off without permission.

Life After the Crash (04:10)

Holland and Spain disagreed about the cause of the accident. Survivors will always live with the memories of the event.

Credits: Crash of the Century (01:21)

Credits: Crash of the Century

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Crash of the Century

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
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KLM Flight 4805 and Pan Am Flight 1736  were just two of many planes delayed on the Spanish island of Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands on March 27, 1977. A series of events resulted in the two aircraft attempting to take off in dense fog from the same runway at the same time. This film is the result of investigators piecing together the conditions and actions that resulted in the death of 583 people, from eyewitness accounts and recordings from the cockpits and control tower. (88 minutes)

Length: 88 minutes

Item#: BVL59322

ISBN: 978-1-60057-335-4

Copyright date: ©2005

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.