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By every forecast, United Airlines Flight 232 was expected to be uneventful, a short July afternoon jaunt from Denver to Chicago; but just an hour into the flight, a chain reaction mechanical failure left the experienced pilots flying helpless with no controls. "Too busy to be scared," the crew and air traffic control searched for any way to avert total disaster. When the passenger-packed plane finally slammed into the Sioux City, Iowa runway, few on the ground thought that anyone could have survived, but 184 of the 296 passengers did exactly that. Laurence Gonzales' minute-by-minute reconstruction of this piercing human story benefits from extensive interviews with those who, then or later, would walk away from the crash.