Description: Turkish Airlines Flight 981 was a McDonnell Douglas DC-10, registered TC-JAV and nicknamed the Ankara, that crashed just outside Senlis, France, on 3 March 1974 killing all on board. Known as the Ermenonville air disaster, from the forest where the aircraft crashed, the accident resulted in the deaths of all 346 on board. The crash of Flight 981 was the deadliest air disaster of all time before the Tenerife Disaster event of 1977, and remained the deadliest single-airliner disaster until the crash of Japan Airlines Flight 123 in 1985. Flight 981 has the highest death toll of any aviation accident in France and the highest death toll of any accident involving a McDonnell Douglas DC-10 anywhere in the world.
The crash resulted from the failure of the rear cargo hatch latching system, which allowed the hatch to blow off in flight. The resulting decompression of the cargo hold caused the cabin floor above the hatch to collapse. The flight control cables for the airplane that ran through the floor were severed, leaving the pilots with almost no control over the aircraft. Problems with the latching system and the potential failure mode that led to the crash were known to Convair, the fuselage's builder, several years prior to the accident. Changes that addressed the problem had been found, but were not applied to TC-JAV, nor many other aircraft in the DC-10-10 fleet. McDonnell Douglas's reputation and the reputation of the DC-10 were harmed.