Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "plane crash" ...

  • 60 Minutes: Flying Under the Radar

    On April 15th 2018, CBS News 60 MINUTES featured a two-part investigation into the safety record of one of the country’s most profitable airlines, Allegiant Air, a small, ultra-low-cost carrier based in Las Vegas. Over the course of seven months, correspondent Steve Kroft and his producers analyzed hundreds of federal aviation documents and interviewed pilots, mechanics and industry experts for a report that raised disturbing questions about the safety of Allegiant’s fleet. Although Allegiant flies less than 100 planes, our investigation found that over a 20-month period, the airline experienced over 100 serious mechanical problems, including mid-air engine failures, cabin depressurization, smoke in the cabin, flight control malfunctions, hydraulic leaks and aborted take-offs. The incidents forced Allegiant pilots to declare 46 in-flight emergencies and 60 unscheduled landings. Our expert sources said this was a remarkably high number of incidents for an airline this size.
  • HBO Real Sports: Hockey's Darkest Day

    In 2011 a plane carrying a Russian hockey team crashed shortly after takeoff--the deadliest accident in the history of professional sports. A five-month Real Sports investigation uncovered massive safety problems in the Russian hockey league. The league spent millions on player salaries but "a few bucks" on everything else--including travel. The plane that crashed was operated by a cheap, third-rate company that had been banned from flying to Europe because they had been cited so many times for major safety violations. The crew of the plane hadn't even completed their training. Our investigation showed that the lack of safety in the world’s second best hockey league—called the KHL—often extends to the ice where KHL team doctors use IV’s and drugs to get their players to perform better on the ice. One young star died after receiving an injection of banned drugs from team doctors. When it came to travel, the lack of safe conditions was nearly universal. Practically every team flew on a Soviet-era jet—jets that make up 3% of the world’s fleet but account for 42% of the world’s accidents. These jets are in such poor condition that most Russian airlines wont use them. Yet even after the crash the KHL continued to use these planes, a fact they initially denied. Shortly after we interviewed the KHL Vice President, the league changed its rules. Now teams fly strictly on modern equipment.
  • Blackwater 61

    The story investigates the plane crash that killed six people in Afghanistan, including three American servicemen. The flight should have been routine, even insignificant. A cockpit voice recorded revealed incompetence among the pilots involved.
  • "Safety for Sale"

    The Federal Aviation Administration is under fire after WFAA-TV reveals that thousands of aircraft mechanics licensed by the FAA, had "questionable" training. The poor training and slow reaction by the FAA could be connected to two deadly airplane crashes. The series also revealed that repair facilities hired foreign mechanics through "immigration loopholes" who were unqualified and often could not speak English.
  • "33 Minutes to 34 Right"

    When Continental Flight 1404 crashed during its landing at the Denver International Airport, it took ambulance responses teams 33 minutes to reach the crash site. KMGH-TV's investigation reveals critical problems with Denver's ambulance system and dispatch center, as well as with the city's overall preparedness for emergency response.
  • Doubts About Cassey

    Over the course of a decade, AIDS activist Cassey Weierbach told her tragic story of contracting HIV from a man who raped her. The local people in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley helped her when she needed it, as they "held her hand when she was laid up in a hospital bed. They’ve cooked her meals and done her laundry. They’ve passed the plate for her on Sunday and paid her rent when it was overdue." But a pastor revealed her accusation that Weierbach did not have AIDS, and was deceiving everyone. Others questioned the veracity of Weierbach's story, as it also included details of a best friend, the alleged rapist's daughter and also a rape victim of the same man, shooting herself in front of Weierbach. Weierbach also claimed her father died in a famous plane crash. Both individuals were still alive and well, and quoted for the story. The Morning Call tells the story of a community and a woman who may or may not have been telling the truth about an affliction with a terrible disease. In the wake of the story, Weierbach was charged with defrauding the state of $67,000 worth of medical benefits.
  • Deadly Express

    In a 9-month investigation, The Miami Herald uncovered inaccuracies in the government's reporting of the frequency of fatal cargo plane crashes. Through the analysis of extensive government documents dating back to 2000, the reporters found that 69 planes have crashed claiming the lives of 85 people, thus "making air cargo the nation's deadliest form of commercial aviation." Despite this fact, pleas to apply more stringent safety regulations on cargo flights have been ignored. Worse yet, when these lax safety standards result in fatal crashes, the pilots are often saddled with the blame.
  • Fatal Flight - The Mystery at Marlboro Airport

    Seven years after a seemingly accidental private airplane crash, the Asbury Park Press found evidence that forced the reopening of the federal investigation. The original NTSB investigation of a fatal 1998 plane crash in Marlboro Township, New Jersey, determined that the accident was caused by a bird strike, but the Asbury Park Press consulted experts who determined that sabotage was the most likely cause. The pilot, who died in the crash, had previously testified in a lawsuit that he suspected his planes were being sabotaged. A disputed land deal involving the township's airport provided a motive for murder.
  • US Air Crash Shatters "Normal" Lives

    This is a whole group of stories about a plane crash. It covers the basics of what happened, causes for the crash, rescue efforts and personal stories of people who were affected.
  • Fewer Crashes Caused by Pilots

    This USA Today analysis of 22 years of crash data and several dozen interviews shows that the number of commercial airplane crashes caused by pilot error has decreased substantially. However, plenty of crashes are still occurring, they are just caused by poor maintenance. The federal government required minimal training for mechanics after they've been licensed, and the airplane industry often opposes improvements in maintenance because they are too costly. The article has a lot of good statistics about airplane crashes.