Accident description
Last updated: 24 April 2014
Status:Final
Date:Saturday 30 July 1949
Time:10:30
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC3 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas DC-3-201D
Operator:Eastern Air Lines
Registration: NC19963
C/n / msn: 2260
First flight: 1940
Total airframe hrs:37840
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 12 / Occupants: 12
Total:Fatalities: 15 / Occupants: 15
Collision casualties:Fatalities: 1
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Chesterfield, NJ (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:New York-La Guardia Airport, NY (LGA/KLGA), United States of America
Destination airport:Wilmington Airport, DE (ILG/KILG), United States of America
Flightnumber: 557
Narrative:
The DC-3 was on a scheduled flight en route from LaGuardia Field to Wilmington, having originated at Boston, with Memphis as the destination. Takeoff from LaGuardia was at 10:00. The flight reported its position as over Freehold, NJ, at 10:17 and estimated arrival over Philadelphia, at 10:37. At the same time, a US Navy Grumman F6F-5N Hellcat aircraft (72887) was en route from the Anacostia NAS, DC, to the Quonset Point NAS, RI, on a training flight. Weather conditions existing over the route of both aircraft were good. The visibility was 10 miles and there were scattered clouds at 12,000 feet. At about 10:30 the F6F-5 was observed to perform acrobatics and to "buzz" a small civil aircraft in the neighborhood of Chesterfield, NJ. These maneuvers terminated in collision between the F6F-5 and the DC-3. Upon collision the fighter plane lost its left wing and the DC-3 lost the outer portion of its left wing. Both aircraft then fell in erratic paths, losing various parts while falling. The DC-3 burned when it struck the ground. The fighter's pilot was either seriously injured or killed at the time of the collision and was thrown clear of the aircraft during the descent. There was no indication that he attempted to use his parachute.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The reckless conduct of the Navy pilot in performing acrobatic maneuvers on a civil airway and his failure to notice the presence of an air carrier aircraft with which he collided."

Events:


Sources:
» CAB File No. 1-0067


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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 Wilmington Airport, DE as the crow flies is 190 km (119 miles).

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Douglas DC-3

  • 1639th loss
  • ca 13.000 built
  • 124th worst accident (at the time)
  • 302nd worst accident (currently)
safety profile

 United States of America
  • 49th worst accident (at the time)
  • 231st worst accident (currently)
»safety profile