This Day in History
September 21, 1996
Programming Error May Have Contributed to Plane Crash
A New York Times article warned against the dangers of trusting computers too completely after an investigation revealed that a programming error may have contributed to the crash of American Airlines Flight 965 in Colombia in December 1995. The pilots apparently selected the first choice of a beacon to guide the plane's autopilot to a landing without checking that it was what they actually wanted. As a result, the plane was directed 100 miles off course, with the devastating result of 159 deaths.