- "A man builds a city at the bottom of the sea. That's a marvel. Another man happens to be on a plane that crash lands on the same city in the middle of the ocean. Why, that sounds more like ... a miracle."
- ―Andrew Ryan
Flight DF-0301 was an Apollo Airways transatlantic flight which crashed into the mid-Atlantic in 1960. The plane was en route to London from San Francisco, carrying eighty-nine passengers and six crew, including the protagonist of BioShock, Jack. Somewhere over the north Atlantic it crashed into the ocean, leaving Jack the only survivor, and beginning the events that took place in the game.
The wreckage of the plane is briefly explorable in the first level of BioShock, as Jack swims to the lighthouse. A large piece of the fuselage sinks almost immediately (nearly crushing Jack), but many small pieces remain on the surface, along with a raging fire from spilled fuel and many personal effects from the other passengers. The two largest recognizable pieces of debris on the surface are a wing section, engulfed in flames, and a slowly sinking section of the plane's tail, with the logo and running lights still clearly visible along with the flight's registration number. It is this tail section that crashes into Rapture a few minutes later, as Jack explores the city for the first time. The tail damages a glass tunnel, blocking it and causing flooding, but Jack is able to climb through the section and make it to the other side using an exit door at the back of the plane.
Later, during the segment of the game when Jack finally meets Andrew Ryan face to face, Jack sees flashbacks to the time of the crash. It is revealed that Jack, who had been under the control of Frank Fontaine using of the phrase "would you kindly," actually hijacked the plane after reading that phrase on a note attached to the gift Jack was carrying in the opening scene of the game. The gift turned out to be a pistol, along with instructions to crash the plane at a specific location, (63° 2' N, 29° 55' W), thereby fulfilling Fontaine's plan.
The reason for the crash was never determined by international investigators, causing many speculations to be put forward by conspiracy theorists in relation to the effects of "The Frozen Triangle." This theory is actually close to the truth, as it attempts to explain the disappearance of planes and ships in a wide stretch of ocean around Rapture's location.
A newspaper clipping from some time immediately following the crash mentions an international search and rescue effort in the area approximately 300 miles southwest of Reykjavík, Iceland. This area is a significant distance from the site where Jack initially hijacked the plane (63° 2' N, 29° 55' W,) which may explain why the search efforts were unsuccessful. The Icelandic Coast Guard launched a search effort by air while American Naval and NATO vessels combed the sea for any sign of the missing jetliner.
One of these vessels was an American nuclear submarine, which eventually (an unknown period of time after the end of events in BioShock) arrives at the true scene of the crash to find debris still floating on the surface of the ocean. This submarine is attacked by several dozen Rapture bathyspheres carrying Splicers, who slaughter the crew and apparently capture the submarine and its missiles. Although this is only seen to happen in the 'bad ending' cutscene of the game, it might also have occurred after Jack left the city with the Little Sisters as per the 'good ending.' The submarine's involvement and subsequent loss is apparently a closely guarded secret, mentioned only as a rumor in "The Frozen Triangle" book from There's Something in the Sea.
In BioShock 2 the tail of the plane is briefly visible lodged against some rocks in the distance during the first ocean walk of the Adonis Luxury Resort level.
A mural of the plane crash is also present in the entrance to Little Eden Plaza in Siren Alley. The Splicers of the Rapture Family revere it as a holy event which brought Jack to Rapture to punish the evil of Andrew Ryan.
On the Multiplayer Level Neptune's Bounty, the tail section appears as a walkway in the piles of random objects to a platform with a grenadier Turret. This is just for aesthetics, as it being there does not make sense against the timeline and story of the game.
During the Final Cutscene of Multiplayer one will see the front section of the plane crashing extremely close to the players apartment. Andrew Ryan makes an announcement that all duties are suspended until a passenger who survived and infiltrated the lighthouse is found.
After Elizabeth is injected with the truth formula, she finds herself in the airplane bathroom. The lights flickerand Elizabeth changes appearance from the time we first meet her (BioShock Infinite) to her current status, after that the bathroom falls apart and Elizabeth wakes up, representing the crash. When Elizabeth is struck with a wrench by Atlas, she finds herself once again in the airplane bathroom, the bathroom rewinds from the crash to the normal state and Elizabeth walks out to the hallway and is able to see Jack opening his "gift" and threatening the steward as the note from Atlas with the activation code flies by, reviling the phrase while screaming is heard and Jack hijacking the plane. Elizabeth also witnesses the Airplane crash into the ocean right at the lighthouse after she is struck one more time by Atlas. A post-credit clip shows the tail section of the plane float down into the city of Rapture a whole year after the ending of the episode.
Behind the Scenes Edit
- In removed audio from BioShock, it is revealed that the main pilot of the flight was Captain Cale Franklin. Nothing about him is revealed, except that he has a calm demeanor and alerts the passengers gently about "a bit of a problem-," where it cuts out. In this audio, it also suggests the airplane would have gone down due to mechanical failure and not how it did in the actual storyline.
- Apollo Air's logo is similar to one of the Pan-American Airways' logo.
- As discovered from the model files of the game, the reason the player's screen resets when the tail section enters the tunnel is because the tunnel and tail section are all one model, with joints meant to give the appearance that the tail section has come from above and crashed into it. In reality, the tail section started about 7–10 feet from the tunnel and is animated into the tunnel.
- Flight DF-0301 is a Boeing 707, as indicated by the forward-pointing antenna on top of its vertical stabilizer (the upper wing on its tail section). The 707 model began service in 1958, two years before the events of BioShock.
- The pistol that Jack receives in the box appears to be a solid frame revolver, unlike the break-action revolver he uses whilst in Rapture.