American Airlines Flight 320

American Airlines Flight 320

Airliner Accident
Airliner Accident Less

American Airlines Flight 320

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American Airlines Flight 320, registration N6101A, was a Lockheed L-188A Electra en route from Chicago Midway International Airport to New York City's LaGuardia Airport on February 3, 1959. It crashed into the East River on approach; 65 of the 73 on board died. It was the first crash for the Electra, which had been introduced only recently by American Airlines. It would not be the last, however, as a series of fatal accidents over the next year would cause the aircraft to have a loss of confidence by the flying public, including two mysterious in-flight wing failures which resulted in speed restrictions and a near grounding by the FAA.

"The crash scene was about a mile north of La Guardia and less than a mile east of Rikers Island, where a Northeast Airlines crash killed 20 persons two years before. By 5 a.m. only 11 survivors were identified. Coast Guard officials said that its boats had picked up 22 bodies. They said many more bodies were presumably lost in the rapid current of the river.

"The big airliner apparently sank between Clason's Point and College Point shortly after residents in those areas reported hearing a dull thud. The cries of the survivors were heard on both shores — at Collego Point and Hunt's Point in Queens, and Clason's Point in the Bronx.

"A Coast Guard helicopter helped to sight survivors in the fog and rain. It reported that scattered bits of wreckage only two or three feet long could be seen over an area of 200 to 300 yards, The...
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