ASN logo
Accident description
Last updated: 10 December 2017
Status:Final
Date:Sunday 31 December 1972
Time:19:23
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC7 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas DC-7CF
Operator:American Express Leasing
Registration: N500AE
C/n / msn: 45130/823
First flight: 1957
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Total:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 5
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:off San Juan-Isla Verde International Airport (SJU) (   Puerto Rico)
Phase: Initial climb (ICL)
Nature:Cargo
Departure airport:San Juan-Isla Verde International Airport (SJU/TJSJ), Puerto Rico
Destination airport:Managua Airport (MGA/MNMG), Nicaragua
Narrative:
The DC-7, 4193 lb (1902 kg) overloaded, entered an uncontrolled descent and crashed into the sea, after the no. 2 engine failed and the no. 3 engine lost power.
The engine failure resulted from inadequate maintenance and inspection and previous damage (taxiing accident Dec. 2, 1972). The Flight Engineer was unqualified for the DC-7.
Baseball player Roberto Clemente, 38, was killed in the accident. Clemente was on a relief mission to deliver supplies for earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE:
powerplant - engine structure: master and connecting rods
powerplant - engine structure: cylinder assembly
powerplant - engine structure: piston,piston rings
miscellaneous acts,conditions - excessive-wear/play
personnel - maintenance,servicing,inspection: inadequate maintenance and inspection
pilot in command - inadequate preflight preparation and/or planning
FACTORS:
personnel - operational supervisory personnel: deficiency,company maintained eqpmt,services,regulation
miscellaneous acts,conditions - improperly loaded aircraft-weight-and/or c.g.
miscellaneous acts,conditions - previous damage
miscellaneous acts,conditions - aircraft came to rest in water

Classification:

Overloaded
Loss of control

Sources:
» Lawsuit (p.376-381)


Photos

Add your photo of this accident or aircraft

Map
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 San Juan-Isla Verde International Airport to Managua Airport as the crow flies is 2258 km (1412 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

languages: languages

Share