SEATTLE — On January 31, 2000, Alaska Airlines Flight 261 plunged into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California.
The flight was traveling from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to San Francisco and on to Seattle when it crashed, killing 88 people on board.
Half of the people killed in the crash were from western Washington, many of them were returning from family vacations in Mexico.
Minutes before the crash, pilots reported problems with the MD-83's tail-section horizontal stabilizer. Investigators found the plane's jackscrew, the piece that operates the stabilizer, was stripped, causing the part's failure.
The National Transportation Safety Board found Alaska's failure to properly lubricate and check the jackscrew led to the plane's crash.
Alaska Airlines and Boeing accepted legal responsibility for the crash and the case never went to trial.
Meanwhile, families have found at least some comfort in the bond they've formed since the crash. Many have traveled to California for a memorial at the crash site.
There are other memorials in western Washington, including a memorial at Soundview Terrace Park in Seattle's Queen Anne neighborhood. The memorial is named after 6-year-old Rachel Pearson, who often played at the park and died along with her family in the crash.
On Friday, people honored the lives lost in the Flight 261 tragedy at the Flight 261 Memorial Garden and Remembrance Wall, located at the Alaska Airlines Flight Operations Training Center in SeaTac.