1974: Northwest Airlines jet crashes into motorway

1974: ONE hundred and sixty people have died as a Northwest Airlines jet caught fire seconds after take-off, clipped a building and ploughed into cars on a busy highway.

The McDonnell- Douglas MD-80 was taking off from Detroit Metropolitan Airport on a flight to Phoenix, when the left engine of the twin-engine plane appeared to catch fire.

The pilot frantically radioed a distress call seconds before the plane began its fiery plunge.

A spokesman for Wayne County sheriffs office said as many as 160 people were believed dead. including motorists.