Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Avianca Flight 52
Avianca Flight 52 was a Boeing 707-321B jet with Avianca Airlines en route from Bogota to New York City via Medellin. On January 25, 1990, it crashed into Long Island after running out of fuel in a series of hold-up patterns, killing 73 of the 158 people on board.
The 707 (HK-2016) had been holding for 1 hour and 17 minutes. During this hold, the aircraft used its reserve fuel, which could have taken the plane to Boston had it had to divert. New York Center asked the crew how long they could continue to hold to which the First Officer replied "...about five minutes...". He further stated that their alternate was Boston but that they would not be able to make it anymore. The controller then cleared the aircraft for the ILS 22L approach. As 52 flew the approach, they encountered windshear and descended below the glideslope, which forced them to intiate a missed approach. At this point, the aircraft did not have enough fuel to make another approach. The crew alerted the controller that they were low on fuel and in a subsequent transmission stated "...we're running out of fuel, sir." The controller asked the crew to climb to which they again stated "Negative sir, we're just running out of fuel." A few moments later, the number 4 engine shut down, rapidly followed by the other three. Suddenly the power shut down, and the craft was plunged into an eerie darkness. Some of the passengers screamed, as they struggled to brace their young ones for impact. The aircraft crashed in the small village of Cove's Neck, on the north side of Long Island some 15 miles from the airport. The aircraft collided with a hill and merely stopped dead, but the G-force of the impact flung the cockpit into a nearby building, but there was no fire because of the lack of kerosene. 73 people on board the aircraft were killed. Many of the passengers were badly injured, and it became a mass rescue job. Many people are upset, because they think control could have done more. The right side co-pilot clearly stated "...we need priority..." and control simply seemed to ignore it. He could have stated "...this is an emergency..." and not priority, but control should have realized it was an emergency, because he clearly stated that they were running out of fuel.
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