Back in May 2012, six of Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital's finest surgeons — Dr. Meredith Grey, Dr. Derek Shepherd, Dr. Cristina Yang, Dr. Arizona Robbins, Dr. Mark Sloan, and Dr. Lexie Grey — endured a terrifying aircraft accident, and only five people survived.
After their plane crashed in the woods, main character Meredith walked away relatively unharmed while her colleagues sustained serious injuries. Cristina dislocated her arm, Arizona broke her femur, Mark suffered internal damage — though he didn't know it at the time — and Derek's hand was badly mangled.
Mark, Meredith, and Cristina after the plane crash.
Following the accident, Lexie — aka Meredith's younger sister — desperately fought to stay alive while trapped under a part of the dismembered plane. As Cristina and Mark tried to move the heavy debris off Lexie's body, the two realized Dr. Grey was being crushed and would not survive.
Eventually, Mark touchingly told Lexie that they were always meant to be together and that he loved her. He held her hand as she took her last breath and died — one of the most heart-wrenching scenes in all of Grey's history.
The "Flight" episode concluded the medical drama's eighth season and ended on a total cliffhanger as the five other surgeons were left stranded in the woods. In Season 9, we learned Arizona had to have her left leg amputated due to her plane crash injury. Mark also sadly died after succumbing to his previously undiagnosed internal ailments.
Mark with a deceased Lexie on Grey's Anatomy.
Later in the season, survivors Meredith, Derek, Arizona, and Cristina sued Seattle Grace Mercy West for the negligent actions that caused the aviation accident. When each doctor receives $15 million in compensation, the hospital is forced to file bankruptcy.
With the addition of Dr. Callie Torres, the "Seattle Grace Five" purchase the hospital — with the help of the Harper-Avery Foundation — to prevent it from closing. Meredith, Derek, Arizona, Cristina, and Callie then become members of SGMW's new directing board. What a whirlwind of emotions!
Check out the gallery to see the most heartbreaking Grey’s Anatomy deaths through the years!