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August 12, 1985 – Not a good news day. Word from Tokyo of the crash of Japan Airlines Boeing 747 Flight 123, into what was later identified as Mount Osutaka, some 100 miles northwest of Tokyo. The flight, a domestic commuter run between Tokyo and Osaka developed serious trouble and was attempting to make an emergency landing at a nearby U.S. airbase when the plane hit Osutaka, a mountain some 6300 feet in elevation. The plane missed the airbase by some 40 miles. 524 persons were aboard the flight including 15 crew members, and in the end only four managed to survive. Reports said a fire had broken out on board the plane which could have been the cause of the trouble, but there were conflicting reports as to whether the fire had developed before the crash or was a result of the crash. Rescue teams were arriving on the crash site and more information would be coming in.
And a Union Carbide plant in West Virgina was scene of a chemical leaks which sickened some 100 people. A yellow chemical cloud was released when a gasket failed under extreme pressure. No reports on what caused the pressure to build up. The plant manufactured the same chemical as the one in Bhopal India, which killed over 2,000 people the year before. Union Carbide officials said that chemical was not involved in the West Virginia mishap. Local residents complained that the warning system Union Carbide installed after the Bhopal incident failed miserably in its first major test. Officials for Union Carbide indicated that the system worked perfectly and that the plant was safe and would not be shut down.
And a hostage situation was unfolding at a Mosque in Paris as a gunman took two people in the main Mosque. The French News agency AFP reported that the man was asking for a plane to fly to Algeria. A Police official entered the Mosque and talked to the gunman. According to one witness, the hostage taker fired at Police earlier and one person was wounded.
And that’s just a sample of what went on, this August 12, 1985 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.