SIOUX CITY, I.A. (KELO) — Friday marks 30 years since one of the deadliest aviation disasters in American history.
United Airlines Flight 232 left Denver and headed to Chicago on July 19th, 1989.
But the plane developed problems and had to make an emergency landing in Sioux City.
Investigators determined it was the failure of an engine mounted in the tail of the plane that led to a loss of flight controls for the crew in the cockpit.
The crash took more than 110 lives. More than 180 people survived.
Three decades later, some loved ones are just now visiting the site where it happened.
Kenneth Ward calls Michigan home. But it’s in Sioux City, Iowa where his family’s life changed forever.
His sister Diana was on Flight 232.
“We just prayed that she was one of the people that was maybe in the hospital because the news coverage showed that some people walked away,” Kenneth Ward said.
But a phone call the next day would deliver the news they didn’t want to hear.
“My sister had passed away,” Ward said.
Ward is visiting Sioux City for the first time. He made the trip with his five sisters.
“Driving in today was tough. When I started to see the signs Sioux City and all I could do was look in the sky and imagine an airplane circling. That was extremely tough driving in,” Ward said.
Ward’s older sister Diana died at the age of 32.
“She had a wonderful life so she would tell me to continue having a wonderful life. Even though it was cut short, she had a wonderful life,” Ward said.
That’s something even a life-changing plane crash can’t take away from his family.
Ward and his family were visiting the Mid America Museum of Aviation and Transportation.
There is a crash exhibit there.
It hasn’t just been difficult for his family to finally visit.
Sioux City woman whose late husband responded to the crash as a firefighter
just visited the exhibit for the first time.
“Before, I didn’t want to do it. It was too difficult. So then I thought, ‘Yeah I better go. I need to go,'” Kathy Patterson said.
You can find more information on the museum here.