Monument Recalls Tenerife Disaster

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Thirty years after the worst aviation disaster in history, a permanent reminder of the runway collision at Tenerife Airport in the Canary Islands will be erected on a mountain there. The 60-foot steel sculpture entitled De Wenteltrap (means spiral staircase) was created by Dutch artist Rudi van de Wint. It was commissioned by Foundation Relatives Victims Tenerife, a group formed in 2002 to raise funds for the monument. It will honor the memory of 583 people who died when a KLM Boeing 747 collided with a Pan American 747 on a runway at Tenerife. The monument will be publicly unveiled March 27 in front of Spanish, American and Dutch family members of victims, survivors and government officials. Incredibly, the unveiling will be preceded by the first-ever international memorial service to remember the victims. The foundation has contacted relatives and survivors (61 people survived) and special flights are being arranged to get as many as possible to the ceremony.