ROMULUS, Mich. (WJBK) - Thirty years ago Wednesday Detroit Metropolitan Airport was the site of the fifth deadliest plane crash in U.S. history.
Northwest Flight 255 went down shortly after takeoff killing all but one person onboard. It was at Middle Belt and I-94 where the plane crashed.
One hundred and 56 people lost their lives in the crash. Their names are etched in stone as is the pain of their loved ones. On Wednesday at 8:46 - the time of the crash - a vigil was held.
Four-year-old Cecelia Cichan was the sole survivor, found by Romulus firefighter John Thiede. She was not in attendance and lives out of state.
Don Insalaco's brother Kevin was working for GM and was on a business trip to Phoenix, Arizona and died in the crash.
"He was a very good dad," Insalaco said. "One of the kindest people I've ever known. It was very tragic. I think about it just about every day."
Tony Zanger's lost his brother Michael and Hollins Langton, the woman who would've become his sister-in-law.
"There are a lot of what-ifs," Zanger said. "How their lives would have evolved. In 30 years where would they have lived? Would they still be in the Phoenix area? How many children would they have had. There's always one wedding we will have never attended."
Flight 255 went down as one of America's deadliest plane crashes. Investigators say the pilots did not use the plane's flaps and slats during takeoff and the aircraft's takeoff warning system was not working.
But even though so many here have lost so much over the past 30 years, they've also gained something.
The friendships they have struck up like my mother and Kay Gleason, they started up a support system together," said Tom Polec, whose sister and brother-in-law died in the crash. "They had a cause, to make sure people don't forget."