TODAY IN HISTORY: Aloha Airlines flight 243 (April 28, 1988)
On April 28, 1988, Aloha Airlines Flight 243 took off from Hilo International Airport at 1:25 PM for the short flight to Honolulu. On board were 90 passengers and five crew members. At approximately 1:48 the aircraft reached its flight altitude of 24,000 feet when a section of the hull on the forward left side of the plane ruptured. The aircraft suffered an immediate and explosive decompression, ripping away a large section of the hull along the roof of the plane. The torn away section extended from the cockpit to the wing area. Captain Robert Schornsteimer was able to see blue sky where the first class cabin’s roof had once been. He radioed an emergency call to Kahului Airport on Maui. Clarabell Lansing, the chief flight attendant, had been ejected through the rupture and fell from the airplane. Amazingly, Captain Schornsteimer was able to land the airplane safely. In all, 65 people were injured, seven seriously. Ms. Lansing was the sole fatality.