January 13, 1982, was an icy day in the nation's capital. Air Florida Flight 90 had barely left the ground when it slammed into the 14th Street bridge, which spanned the Potomac River. The plane hit the water and began to sink. The crash killed 78 people, including four on the bridge. Television crews captured the scene of the sinking plane and dramatic rescue attempts. A rescue helicopter lowered a line into the freezing river and towed survivors to shore. Others jumped in to save the few passengers who surfaced. Five people on the plane survived. An investigation determined that pilot error was the cause of the crash, and several pilot-training reforms were subsequently put in place.
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