Reversal of Fortune: The crash of Lauda Air flight 004

Niki Lauda surveys the wreckage of his airline’s Boeing 767 after it crashed in Thailand in 1991. (AP)
Niki Lauda after his victory in the 1982 British Grand Prix. (Adrian Murrell)
Niki Lauda in front of a Lauda Air 777. (Picture Alliance)
OE-LAV, the aircraft involved in the accident. (Simon Kindall)
The route of Lauda Air flight 004. (Google + own work)
How a cascade reverser works. ( and Yu Gang et al)
A diagram of the inputs required to open the thrust reverser. (FAA)
All the components of the thrust reverser and its control system. (FAA)
This animation of the moment of the reverser deployment appeared in Mayday season 14 episode 2: “Niki Lauda: Testing the Limits.”
The animation from Mayday continues through the breakup of the airplane.
Passengers’ belongings were strewn about the site of the crash. (AFP)
Flight 004’s left engine. (FAA)
Niki Lauda at the scene of the accident. (AP)
Another shot of Niki Lauda at the crash site. (Peter Charlesworth)
Thai police stand atop one of the largest remaining pieces of wreckage. (Peter Charlesworth)
Another view of the large fuselage section. (Peter Charlesworth)
A large number of locals swarmed the crash site and stole pieces of wreckage and victims’ belongings. Police who were supposed to stop them joined in the looting. (The Manager [Thai newspaper])
Niki Lauda observes the wreckage. (Picture Alliance)
Yet another shot of Niki Lauda at the scene. (Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives)
People sift through the wreckage after the crash. (Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives)
Some of the widely scattered debris came to rest on extremely precipitous terrain. (Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives)
Police at work at the crash site. (Author uncertain)
Passengers’ luggage was scattered everywhere. (Picture Alliance)
A large piece of fuselage skin from flight 004. (Author uncertain)
A substantial amount of wreckage is still at the crash site today. This shrine has been built around some of it. (Bangkok Weekend Warriors)
More wreckage still at the crash site. (South China Morning Post)
Many large pieces of the airplane are among those collected near the shrine. (Author uncertain)




Analyzer of plane crashes and author of upcoming book (eventually™). Contact me via @Admiral_Cloudberg on Reddit or by email at

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Admiral Cloudberg

Admiral Cloudberg

Analyzer of plane crashes and author of upcoming book (eventually™). Contact me via @Admiral_Cloudberg on Reddit or by email at

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