Nigeria Airways Flight 2120 Crash-Lands in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

It was early in what pilots call the "takeoff roll" when first officer Kent Davidge signalled to his captain that he had a possible blown tire.

As the Nationair DC-8 picked up speed, a second tire blew. Huge chunks of hot rubber flew across the pavement. The thud of a smashed wheel could be felt in the cockpit.

But Captain William Allan said nothing, and eventually the plane, it's wheels on fire, lifted off the runway in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, and soared over the desert.

Minutes later it crashed, killing all 247 Muslims flying home to Nigeria and 14 Canadian crew members, four of them Quebecers.

Nigeria Airways Flight 2120 was a Douglas DC-8-61 C-GMXQ owned by Canadian airline Nationair and chartered by Nigeria Airways to transport Nigerian pilgrims to and from Mecca. On 11 July 1991 the aircraft caught fire and crashed shortly after takeoff from King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, killing all 261 on board, including 14 Canadian aircrew.

The cause of the crash was found to be under-inflated tires, which in turn caused overheated tires to catch fire, and failure of hydraulic systems and eventual in-flight break-up of the aircraft short of making an emergency landing.

As of 2008 it is the deadliest accident involving a DC8 and the deadliest accident involving a Canadian aircraft.

A memorial to the incident is located at the head office of Greater Toronto Airports Authority on the grounds of Toronto Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, Ontario.