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"On January 11, 1983, a United Airlines DC-8F cargo aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff from Detroit Metro Airport. A lower rear cargo pit had a type A package containing 10,000 241Am solid-form sources, each of 1.5-μCi strength, used in smoke detectors. Although burned and somewhat battered, the 1-gal metal can holding all these sources was recovered completely intact with no release of radioactive material to the environment or loss of any sources. This report describes Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's attempt to reconstruct, as closely as practical, the mechanical and thermal environments experienced by this can during and immediately after the accident. Mechanical loading of the metal can in a shipping carton was simulated by impacts from a 16-lb pendulum mass falling through vertical displacements of up to 6 ft. Internal damage ranged from imperceptible to sufficient to demolish internal plastic jars and to produce major deformation of the metal can. The thermal environment was best reproduced by the simple burning of the outer shipping carton."