Morbid Fact Du Jour for July 6, 2016

Today’s Incapacitated Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

United Airlines Flight 624, a Douglas DC-6 airliner, registration NC37506, was a scheduled passenger flight that originated in San Diego, California with stops in Los Angeles and Chicago en route to LaGuardia Airport in New York City. The four-engine propeller-driven airplane crashed at 1:41 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on June 17, 1948 outside of Aristes, Pennsylvania, killing all 4 crew members and 39 passengers on board.

The Douglas DC-6 fleet had been grounded by Civil Aviation authorities for four months as a result of the fatal crash of United Airlines Flight 608 on October 24, 1947. It was determined that the crash had been caused by a design flaw that allowed vented fuel to be drawn into the heater air intake scoop that caused a fire in the cargo compartment. As a result, changes were made and a fire extinguisher system was installed on all DC-6 aircraft.

Flight 624 from San Diego had just completed a routine initial descent as part of its approach into the New York area, when the forward cargo hold fire indicator light illuminated, leading the flight crew to believe there was a fire in that cargo hold. Although this later turned out to be a false alarm, the crew decided to discharge CO2 bottles into the forward cargo hold, to try to extinguish the possible fire.

While proper operating procedure called for opening the cabin pressure relief valves prior to discharging the CO2 bottles, to allow for venting of the CO2 gas buildup in the cabin and cockpit, there was no evidence the crew opened the relief valves. Consequently, the released CO2 gas seeped back into the cockpit from the front cargo hold and apparently partially incapacitated the flight crew. The crew then put the aircraft into an emergency descent, and as it descended lower it hit a high voltage power line, bursting into flames, then smashing through the trees of a wooden hillside.

Ed Darlington of radio station WCNR at nearby Bloomsburg said “there was no sign of life and apparently everyone was killed.” The scene of the wreck was in a sparsely wooded area about five miles from Mt. Carmel, a small town 135 miles from Philadelphia where delegates are gathering for the Republican National Convention. News of the crash brought excited whispering from the delegates. No one knew for certain whether any high Republican officials were on the plane.  [Sadly, they were not. – DeSpair]

Ira F. Roadarmel of Mt. Carmel, one of the first persons on the scene, said “everything was scattered. The largest piece of the plane left was an engine. The rest of the plane was in small parts — so small they could be carried.”

George Minnich, an employee of Midvalley Colliery No. 2, which the plane missed by only 100 yards in its descent, said that he saw the plane bank. “Suddenly there was a horrible crash,” he said. “All you could see was a mass of flames. It sounded as though the end of the world was coming.”


The aftermath of doomed flight 624.

Culled from: Wikipedia

 

Morbid Mirth Du Jour!

Thanks to Nina for this one!

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