Accident description
Last updated: 20 September 2014
Status:Final
Date:Saturday 7 February 1948
Time:13:09
Type:Silhouette image of generic CONI model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Lockheed L-649 Constellation
Operator:Eastern Air Lines
Registration: NC112A
C/n / msn: 2533
First flight: 1947
Total airframe hrs:1522
Engines: 4 Wright R-3350 (749C18BD1) Cyclone
Crew:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 6
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 63
Total:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 69
Airplane damage: Substantial
Airplane fate: Repaired
Location:250 km (156.3 mls) ESE off Brunswick, GA (   United States of America) show on map
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:New York-La Guardia Airport, NY (LGA/KLGA), United States of America
Destination airport:West Palm Beach International Airport, FL (PBI/KPBI), United States of America
Flightnumber: 611
Narrative:
Eastern Air Lines Flight 611 originated at Boston, MA, for Miami, FL, with stops scheduled at New York-LaGuardia Field, NY, and West Palm Beach, FL.
Takeoff from LaGuardia was at 10:09 and the flight climbed to the cruising altitude of 22.000 feet.
At about 13:09, the No.3 propeller failed and a portion of one blade was thrown through the fuselage. It entered the lower right side at the galley section, severing control cables, electrical wires and engine controls, came up through the floor, fatally injuring a purser and left through the upper left side. A momentary fogging of the cockpit resulted due to the sudden depressurization of the fuselage. Heavy vibration was felt and all of the flight and engine instruments became either inoperative or impossible to read. Power was reduced and a rapid descent was started. An attempt was made to feather No.3 engine and orders were given to prepare for ditching.
An estimated one or two minutes after the failure of the No.3 propeller the front portion of No.3 engine and some of its cowling fell free of the aircraft. Concurrently the heavy vibration stopped.
A fire followed in No.3 nacelle but quickly extinguished itself. The crew set course to the Florida coast. At 13:12, the aircraft could no longer transmit because of failure of electrical power.
At the 12,000-foot level the descent was stopped. It was then found that controlled power was available from Nos. 1 and 2 engines, that No. 4 engine was running, although it could not be controlled by its throttle and that No. 3 engine had stopped.
Near the coast low clouds prevailed and the aircraft was let dawn visually to about 1,000 feet altitude, as most of the flight instruments remained inoperative.
The airport at Bunnell. FL, was sighted and circled. All emergency doors and exits were opened on approach and as the aircraft passed over the boundary of the runway and landing seemed assured, the ignition switch of No. 4 engine was cut. Brakes were applied hard during the landing roll causing one of the left tires to blow out.
When the aircraft stopped, fires started in No.4 engine and in the right landing gear. Both were quickly extinguished..
All passengers were evacuated.


PROBABLE CAUSE: "The Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the failure of a propeller blade due to high stresses induced by accumulative engine malfunctioning."

Sources:
» CAB File No. 1-0010


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Map
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from New York-La Guardia Airport, NY to West Palm Beach International Airport, FL as the crow flies is 1657 km (1036 miles).

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