Just seconds after taking off from Madrid International Airport, Spanair Flight 5022 rolls to the right and slams into a riverbank beside the runway. In spite of the massive rescue effort, only 18 of the 172 people on board survive. Spain quickly recruits an international team of experts to investigate this puzzling disaster. How could a sophisticated jet, manned by an experienced crew, crash on takeoff? A long preflight delay, an airline in financial trouble, and a blazing August afternoon may help provide the answer.