Firemen remove the body of a passenger from the wreckage of Martinair, Dutch DC-10 which crashed at Faro airport, Portugal. - Gulf News Archives

54 perish in Portugal plane crash

1992 - A Dutch chartered plane bringing Christmas holidaymakers from Amsterdam crashed and burst into flames in driving rain at Faro airport in southern Portugal, killing at least 54 people. Airport director Carlos Saruca Salgado said at least 274 people survived the crash of the Martinair DC-10 and were taken to hospital. Airport officials said the three-engined plane crashed on its second attempt to land in heavy rain and strong crosswinds. One wing scraped the runway and there was an explosion, as the plane burst into flames and skidded off the tarmac. The plane broke in two, spilling passengers on to the ground and a fire broke out in the rear of the fuselage where most of the deaths occurred. He said 13 of the survivors had suffered severe burns.

December 21

1817 - Governor Lachlan Macquarie formally adopts the name ‘Australia’ for a British colony.

1898 - Radium is discovered by scientists Pierre and Marie Curie.

1934 - Bolivia’s President Daniel Salamanca is overthrown in military coup.

1937 - The première of Walt Disney’s first full-length animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in Los Angeles, US.

1948 - Ireland becomes an independent republic.

1958 - Charles de Gaulle is elected first president of France’s Fifth Republic.

1967 - Louis Washkansky, first man to undergo a heart transplant, dies 18 days after surgery.

1971 - Austrian diplomat Kurt Waldheim is chosen secretary-general of the United Nations.

1979 - The Rhodesian peace agreement is formally signed, ending a seven-year guerrilla war.

1986 - Historic Mareb Dam is inaugurated in Northern Yemen.

1988 - Pan Am Boeing 747 crashes in south-west Scotland killing 258 people on board and 11 on the ground.

1989 - Nicolae Ceausescu declares state of emergency in Timosoara, Romania, after tens of thousands of protesters fill the streets in mass demonstrations.

1995 - A train slams into the Cairo-Luxor Express in Badrshein, Egypt, killing 75 people.

1998 - Chinese dissidents Xu Wenli and Wang Youcai are sentenced to more than a decade behind bars for trying to register the China Democracy Party.

2004 - A rocket attack on a US military dining hall kills 22 people and wounds more than 50 in Mosul, Iraq.

2006 - Turkmenistan President Saparmurat Niyazov dies at 66 after more than 20 years in power.

2011 - Boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr is sentenced by Las Vegas judge to 90 days in jail.

2014 - Tunisian presidential candidate Beji Qaid Al Sebsi claims victory in the run-off election.

2015 - Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini are banned for eight years for ethics violations by Fifa Ethics Committee.

2016 - The Dubai Future Academy is launched as part of the Dubai Future Foundation’s initiatives.