Narrative:En route from Memphis to Boston, flying at FL330, the warnings indicated smoke on cargo areas 7, 8, and 9 on the upper deck. A rapid emergency descent was carried with full speed brakes and at maximum speed during the descent, no. 6 and no.10 smoke warning lights also illuminated.
An emergency landing was carried out 20mins. later at Newburgh runway 27.
The aircraft was taxied onto a taxiway and evacuated immediately. The captain had some trouble opening the side window, because the aircraft was still pressurized. Visibility suddenly went to near zero as the cockpit filled with smoke. The cockpit crew exited the aircraft using a rope. The jump seat crew exited via the right emergency slide.
Firefighters were not able to reach the source of the smoke due to the cargo arrangement. But 40 minutes after landing, the fire increased and burned through the fuselage. The aft fuselage structure was weakened by the fire, causing the tail section to separate. About 4 hours after landing, the fire was extinguished.
The DC-10, named 'Chandra Renee' had accumulated 38271 hours and 17818 cycles.
PROBABLE CAUSE: "An in-flight cargo fire of undetermined origin."
» Business & Commercial Aviation Sept. 1997 (140-146)
» ICAO Adrep Summary 4/97 (#26)
» After Smoke Detected in Cargo Compartment Crew Lands DC-10, Then Fire Destroys Aircraft
Official accident investigation report
Follow-up / safety actions
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 Memphis International Airport, TN to Boston-Logan International Airport, MA as the crow flies is 1819 km (1137 miles).