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Transportation and Infrastructure

Halloween Marks 20th Anniversary Of Roselawn Plane Crash


This Halloween marks 20 years since the crash of an American Airlines plane near the town of Roselawn. 68 people died in that crash, and many of their relatives gathered in Merrillville Thursday to honor their memories.

The twin-engine turbo-prop was en route to Chicago from Indianapolis in wet, cold weather, and unusually-heavy icing was determined to be the underlying cause.

More than 100 loved ones of the victims, first responders and community members attended a forum Thursday night to learn more about the tragic mishap. The National Transportation Safety Board investigation into Flight 4184 took about two years and led to a 300-page report.

Greg Fieth was the NTSB’s lead investigator of the crash. He says more than 35 recommendations were issued on how to deal with unusual icing situations and pilots use most of them even today.

"This accident is still talked about, in first person, if you will," Feith says. "About icing and airplanes flying in icing and what pilots need to do to prevent a similar accident from happening again."

Airlines also deal differently with the families of plane crash victims today, because of the efforts of the Flight 4184 victims’ survivors. The Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act was passed in 1996.   A memorial wall to the victims of the 1996 crash is also being dedicated this year.