O'Hare International Airport

AP WAS THERE: 1979 Chicago American Airlines crash kills 273

Decades after American Airlines Flight 191 crashed moments after taking off from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, it remains the deadliest aviation accident in U.S. history.

The DC-10 was destined for Los Angeles when it lost one of its engines on May 25, 1979, killing 273 people, including all 271 people onboard and two others on the ground. More lives were lost in the Sept. 11 airplane crashes, but those crashes are classified as acts of terrorism, not accidents.

Reporter Marc Wilson covered the Chicago crash for The Associated Press. In a first-person account published about a week later, he described the burning debris and seeing policemen throw up, priests...