Spencer, MA. – October 10, 1973

Spencer, Massachusetts – October 10, 1973

     On October 10, 1973, a Piper Aztec airplane, piloted by a 63-year-old pilot, and carrying two relatives as passengers, was making a west to east ILS approach to Worcester Airport when it disappeared from radar.  The plane crashed in a heavily wooded section of Spencer, Massachusetts, a town about five miles to the west of Worcester.  All aboard perished in the accident.  

     Source: Providence Evening Bulletin, “Plane Crash Fatal To Three In Bay State”, October 11, 1973, page 52. 

 

Lakeville, MA – December 22, 1973

Lakeville, Massachusetts – December 22, 1973

 

     On December 22, 1973, a Cessna amphibious aircraft took off from Plymouth Airport, in Plymouth, Mass. with three men and a boy aboard for a routine pleasure flight.  While landing on Long Pond in the town of Lakeville, the plane hit a wave and flipped over.  All aboard were able to get out safely and sit atop the pontoons while awaiting rescue.  The four people were rescued a short time later and treated for exposure. The aircraft floated near shore and was tied up to a dock until it could be recovered. 

     Source: Providence Journal, “Amphibious Plane Flips In Landing”, December 23, 1973, page A-27    

Logan Airport – December 17, 1973

Logan International Airport – December 17, 1973 

 

     On the afternoon of December 17, 1973, Iberia Airlines Flight 933, arrived at Boston’s Logan International Airport from Madrid with 168 people aboard.  (14 crew, 154 passengers.) The aircraft was a DC-10 jetliner. 

     At the time of the flight’s arrival, the weather consisted of a 300 foot cloud ceiling with rain falling and thick low-lying fog which created a situation of very low visibility.   The pilot was given clearance to make an instrument landing approach on Runway 33L.   As the aircraft was about to land it struck the light bar on an instrument landing approach pier which was located in Boston Harbor a short distance from the end of the runway.   When the plane touched down on the wet runway it struck a row of runway approach lights and went off the tarmac.  The aircraft then skidded across the ground for another 200 yards before coming to rest in a marshy area.   A section of landing gear was torn away, and the plane’s tail section broke apart just in front of the rear engine.  The plane’s left engine caught fire and began to burn. 

     Fortunately there was no panic, and all passengers and crew were evacuated safely via the inflatable emergency escape chutes.  Sixteen people were reportedly taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.        

     This accident was the third major accident at Logan Airport within five months. 

     On November 3, 1973, a Pan American Boeing 707 cargo plane crashed killing three crewmen.

     On July 31, 1973, a Delta Airlines DC-9 crashed killing 89 persons.

     Sources:

     Providence Journal, “168 Survive Jet Crash At Logan”, December 18, 1973, page 1 (Photo of plane)   

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “168 Survive Crash At Logan Airport”, December 18, 1973, page 6

     Westerly Sun, (R.I.), “16 Injured In Third major Logan Crash In Five Months”, December 18, 1973, page 1.  

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Runway Wreck In Hub Probed By Safety Bd.”, December 19, 1973, page 35

 

Logan Airport – July 31, 1973

Logan Airport – July 31, 1973

Boston, Massachusetts

 

     On the morning of July 31, 1973, Delta Airlines Flight 723 left Burlington, Vermont, bound for Manchester, New Hampshire, and Boston’s Logan International Airport.  The aircraft was a DC-9, (N975NE).  At the time it left Burlington there were 57 people aboard.

     The flight would normally have been non-stop to Boston, but on this day the plane made a detour to Manchester to pick up 32 additional Delta passengers who had been left stranded when their earlier flight to Logan had been cancelled due to bad weather. 

     After the additional passengers boarded at Manchester, the plane taxied out to await clearance for take off.   One of those who had boarded at Manchester was a man who had a 2:00 p.m. business meeting in New York City.   It was while the plane was awaiting take off that he realized he wouldn’t make it to his meeting on time and asked the hostess to be let off the plane.  When she hesitated, he asked to speak with the pilot, and was allowed to do so.  The pilot graciously honored the request and brought the plane back to the terminal, where it was announced that anyone else who wished to deplane could now do so, but nobody else got off.        

     The DC-9 then left Manchester bound for Boston with 89 persons aboard. 

     The weather at Boston consisted a cloud ceiling of only 400 feet, and thick heavy ground fog which created a very low visibility situation.  Therefore the crew would need to make an instrument landing.   

     The last radio communication from Flight 723 came at 11:08 a.m., as the aircraft approached Logan Airport’s Runway 4R.  As the passenger jet came in to land it’s underside struck a concrete seawall at the end of the runway tearing away some of the fuselage.  The plane then slammed into the ground, broke apart, and erupted into flame.  The debris field was scattered for hundreds of feet beginning at the seawall and leading to the runway.    

     The official time of the accident is listed as 11:09 a.m.    

     The fog was so thick that the crash wasn’t observed by those in the control tower, nor by personnel stationed at the terminal, therefore the airport fire department wasn’t immediately notified.  

     The only witnesses to the accident were two airport construction workers who raced to the scene in their pickup truck.  They tried notifying the tower via the truck’s two-way radio, but discovered it wasn’t working.  Aware that there would be other incoming flights arriving shortly, one worker drove to the airport fire station about a mile away while the other stayed behind to search for survivors.    

     As with the control tower, the fire department was unaware of the crash for the thick fog also obscured their view of the runways.  At 11:15 a.m. the fire chief ordered “Box 612” struck, which notified fire and rescue personnel in 26 surrounding communities in the Boston area to send help.  

     An Eastern Airlines jet had landed without incident on Runway 4R just prior to the crash of Flight 723.   At the time of the crash, two other airliners scheduled to land after Flight 723 were beginning their long distance approach to Runway 4R.  Due to the heavy fog the incoming pilots couldn’t see the burning wreckage.   Miraculously the pilots of both aircraft executed “missed approaches” thus avoiding further disaster.  Other incoming aircraft were diverted to other airports.  

     Only six survivors were located amidst the debris and all were transported to Massachusetts General Hospital, but four were pronounced dead on arrival, and a fifth passed away later in the day.    

     The sixth survivor was 20-year-old Air Force Sergeant Leopold Chouinard, who was sitting towards the back of the cabin.  He managed to escape the burning tail section by crawling though a window, but in doing so suffered severe burns over 80% of his body.  Despite the best medical care available, he passed away on December 11, 1973.    

     The crash of Flight 723 became the worst civilian-air disaster in New England.

     This wasn’t the only accident involving an airliner to occur at Logan Airport.  On October 4, 1960, an Eastern Airlines, Lockheed Electra, (Flight 375), crashed on take off into Winthrop Bay killing 62 of the 72 people aboard.     

      Sources:

     Providence Journal, “Jet crashes In Fog At Logan; 88 Die- DC-9 Hits seawall And Disintegrates”, August 1, 1973, page 1

     Providence Journal, “Crash Scene: ‘No Way To Describe It'”, August 1, 1973, page 1

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Probe Opens Into Logan Air Crash”, August 1, 1973, page 1 

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Pilot In Crash Was R. I. Native”, August 1, 1973, page 25

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “He Got Off Plane At Manchester”, August 1, 1973, page 25

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Green Handles Diverted Traffic”, August 1, 1973, page 25

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Sergeant Survived Severe Auto Crash”, August 1, 1973, page 25

     The Providence Journal, “2 Ex-R.I. Residents Killed In Air Disaster”, August 2, 1973, page 2

     Boston (AP) “Probers Find Water In Jetliner’s Engines”, August 3, 1973.

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Ex-Pilot Was Retraining – Crash Ended His Hope”, August 14, 1973, page 9

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Survivor Remains Stable, Critical”, August 14, 1973, page 9

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Widow Sues In Jet Crash”, August 24, 1973, page 10

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Crash Survivor Fights On”, August 29, 1973, page 1

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Sergeant Testifies He Climbed Out Window”, August 29, 1973

     Providence Journal, “Probers Note Complaints Of Delta Crews”, August 30, 1973, page 15

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “2 U.S. Boards Disagree On Limiting Delta DC9s”, August 30, 1973, page 25

     Providence Journal Bulletin, (no headline) September 19, 1973, page 6 – partial pilot testimony.

     Providence Journal Bulletin, “New England: Air Controller Testifies At Crash Hearing”, September 20, 1973, page 2 

     Providence Journal Bulletin, “N. E. News: Pilots Testify At Hearing”, September 21, 1973, page 5 

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Public hearing Ends On Boston Jet crash”, page 7

     Providence Journal Bulletin, “Reports Conflict On Delta Plane”, September 22, 1973, page 2

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Lone Crash Survivor Is Still Fighting Pain”, October 23, 1973, page 10

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Lone crash Survivor Dies After 4 Months”, December 12, 1973, page 36

     (Providence) Evening Bulletin, “Worst N. E. Air Disaster Was A year Ago”, July 31, 1974, page B-9

Martha’s Vineyard, MA – July 10, 1973

Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts – July 10, 1973

 

    On the evening of July 10, 1973, a Piper Cherokee 180 left North Central State Airport in Smithfield, Rhode Island, bound for Martha’s Vineyard Airport.  There were two men aboard.  The pilot, a Providence doctor who held a commercial pilot’s license, and a passenger, an instructor for North Central Airways.  The purpose of the flight was to practice instrument landings in foggy conditions so the doctor could gain his instrument certification rating. 

    At about 8:05 p.m., as the aircraft was approaching Martha’s Vineyard Airport in low lying clouds, it suddenly went down in a wooded area of state forest land about 1800 feet short of the runway.  The plane did not burn.  The doctor was killed instantly, and the instructor was transported to the hospital in critical condition.  

     Sources:

     Providence Journal, “Plane Crash Kills Providence Man”, July 11, 1973, page 1.

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Plane Crash Kills Providence Dentist”, July 11, 1973

Agawam, MA – June 2, 1973

Agawam, Massachusetts – June 2, 1973

 

     On June 2, 1973, a 43-year old man and his son were killed when their twin-engine airplane crashed just after takeoff from Bowles Airport in Agawam.  The plane came down eighty feet away from a private home and exploded.  The portion of the tail section was recovered about 50 feet from the crash site.   

     Bowles Airport was located at Shoemaker Lane and Silver Street in Agawam.

     Source: Providence Sunday Journal, “Father, Son Die In Mass. Plane Crash”, June 3, 1973, page C25.

Methuen, MA – May 9, 1973

Methuen, Massachusetts – May 9, 1973

     On May 9, 1973, a Beechcraft Bonanza with four people aboard left Pontiac, Michigan, bound for Lawrence Airport in North Andover, Massachusetts.  As the aircraft was passing over Methuen, a town just to the northwest of North Andover, it developed engine trouble. 

     One witness stated he saw the plane from his front yard on Farley Street.  He looked up when he heard the engine not running right, and observed the plane go back up into the clouds, but just as it did the engine ceased, and the plane came spiraling down.  

     The plane crashed and exploded in the backyard of a combination private home and drive-in diner at 374 Merrimack Street, not far from the intersection of Merrimack Street and Route 113.  All four persons aboard were killed.  

     Sources:

     Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, “Methuen Plane Crash Kills 4”, May 10, 1973, page 1  (photos of crash scene)

     Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, “Two Of Crash Victims Had Andover Ties”, May 10, 1973, page 1

     Providence Journal, “4 Men Identified In Plane Crash At Mass. Airport.”, May 11, 1973 

Princeton, MA. – April 16, 1973

Princeton, Massachusetts – April 16, 1973

     On April 16, 1973, a 27-year-old pilot from Rutland, Vermont, was piloting a single-engine Cessna at tree-top-level over the town of Princeton when he stalled the aircraft while suddenly pulling up to avoid a rise in the terrain.  He was killed when the plane crashed vertically into the ground.

     Sources:

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Plane Crash Fatal”, April 17, 1973   

     Providence Journal, “Crash Cause Given In Death Of Pilot”, May 24, 1973

Fall River, MA. – April 19, 1973

Fall River, Massachusetts – April 19, 1973

     On April 19, 1973, a Piper Cherokee, (N7577R), with two men aboard, a student-pilot, and his instructor, were making a training flight over the city of Fall River when the fuel supply in one tank ran low.  When the instructor attempted to switch to the other fuel tank he discovered the switching device was broken.  The instructor then attempted to glide the plane towards an open sand pit area, but towards the end of the glide the plane began glancing off tree tops about 150 feet from the pit.  The plane then nosed over and dove into the ground, tearing the wings off in the process.  Both men were injured, but not seriously.

     The plane crashed about 300 yards off Bell Rock Road in the eastern portion of the city.  Fortunately there was no fire, and the instructor was able to walk to a nearby house and ask for help.  

     Source:

     Fall River Herald News, “Two Men narrowly Miss Death In Plane Crash”, April 20, 1973, page 1 (with photo) 

     Westerly Sun, (R.I.), Two Men Injured In Plane Crash” April 20, 1973, page 8 

 

Taunton, MA – February 3, 1973

Taunton, Massachusetts – February 3, 1973

     At 2:25 p.m. on February 3, 1973, blue and white single-engine Cessna 150 took off from Mansfield (Mass.) Municipal Airport bound for Taunton. The pilot was a 40-year-old English teacher at Attleboro High School, making a solo flight.  About twenty minutes later the plane crashed in a remote marshy-wooded area about half-a-mile north of Route 44, in the Westville section of Taunton. 

     The first to reach the cash site was an off duty police officer who reported that the pilot was still alive, but unconscious.  Unfortunately the pilot passed away by the time he reached the hospital.         

     Sources:

     Providence Journal, “Teacher Dead In Plane crash”, February 3, 1973 (Photo of accident.)

     The Providence Sunday Journal, “Plane Crash Kills Seekonk Man”, February 4, 1973

     Taunton Daily Gazette, “National Safety Board Probing Fatal Private Plane Crash Here”, February 5, 1973  (Two photos of accident)

 

Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲