A new permanent exhibit and garden that pays tribute to the crew, passengers and the Siouxland response to the 1989 crash of United Airlines Flight 232 is now open at the Mid America Air Museum in Sioux City.
Museum director Larry Finley says he gets weekly questions from visitors about Flight 232 and how local emergency responders helped save 184 lives.
“With that type of interest, we felt that it was important for the community that we set up an educational facility. We have a great memorial on the riverfront and now we will have a great educational center here,” Finley says.
The Denver-to-Chicago flight crashed on July 19th, 1989, claiming 111 lives. The engine in the tail of the D-C-10 exploded and cut all hydraulics.
The pilot, Captain Al Haynes, was championed for steering the crippled plane onto the runway using only the throttles of the remaining two engines on the wings.
Pam Mickelsen heads the Flight 232 anniversary committee and says the new outdoor garden will be a place of private reflection at the site where the airliner crash-landed.
“There’s a line of trees and bushes that is going to grow up to be a great area that is protecting that runway where it hit down. And our guests can go out and reflect — look out across runway two-two,” Mickelsen says.
Saturday marks the 25th anniversary of the crash. Events are planned today through Sunday at the museum, including a reunion of the crew, survivors, families and first responders.
By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City