No Time for Caution: The crash of TAP Air Portugal flight 425

Aftermath of the crash of TAP 425. Image source: Alan Cordwell
Madeira’s extremely rugged terrain makes it a popular tourist destination, and also a difficult place to build an airport. Image source: Thorsten Kuttig
Madeira International Airport in the 1960s or 1970s. Image source: Juan Carlos Díaz Lorenzo
TAP Air Portugal Boeing 727 CS-TBS, sister ship of the accident airplane, CS-TBR. Image source: Piergiuliano Chesi
Map of the route of flight 425 with its designated alternate airport. Map source: Google
Diagram of a Visual Approach Slope Indicator System in use. Image source: Adeel Nawab
ALM 980 underscored the importance of diverting in a timely manner. Image source: The Weather Channel
Simulation of flight 425’s long, slippery landing. Video source: Rádio e Televisão de Portugal
Simulation, continued.
My original drawing of the moment of impact.
TAP 425 was the deadliest crash on Portuguese soil until 1989, when 144 people died in the crash of an Independent Air Boeing 707 in the Azores. Video source: the Associated Press
Wreckage of the 727, seen under the bridge. Image source: Márcio Sousa
The tail somehow remained perched atop the bridge. Image source: País ao Minuto
View of the crash scene from the beach. Image source: Expresso
A SATA Sud Aviation Caravelle similar to the one involved in the flight 730 crash at Madeira. Image source: Richard Vandervord
The extended 1800-meter runway as it appeared in 1990. Image source: Peter Forster
The new elevated runway “bridge” shortly after its completion in 2000. Image source: Mikael Hultkvist



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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