- ACCIDENT DETAILS
Date: January 25, 1990
Time: 21:34
Location: Cove Neck, New York
Operator: AVIANCA
Flight #: 052
Route: Medellin - New York City
AC Type: Boeing B-707-321B
Registration: HK 2016
cn / ln: 19276/592
Aboard: 158   (passengers:149  crew:9)
Fatalities: 73   (passengers:65  crew:8)
Ground: 0
Summary: The aircraft was put in a series of extended holding patterns as it approached New York.The crew informed ATC they were running out of fuel but did not declare an emergency and were cleared to land. After a missed approach and during a go-around, the plane ran out of fuel and crashed in a wooded area. The captain speaking very little English and communicating through the first officer, at no time declared an emergency. The first officer used the term "we need priority" several times, rather than declaring an emergency. The ATC did not realize the peril of the aircraft. Failure of the crew to properly communicate the emergency situation to the ATC. Although blame was placed squarely on the crew there are several reasons why ATC should have taken some responsibility for the accident. ATC was trying to land too many planes at once given the weather and number of missed approaches and aborted landing that were taking place. The plane was put in an extended holding pattern on three different occasions. The crew was not told of wind shear below 500 ft. which led to the aborted landing attempt. The plane was passed between three different controllers as it came out of its holding pattern to land. Each time the crew had to repeat their fuel situation. The crew did say "we are running out of fuel" numerous times only to be taken on a wide circling pattern after the first attempt at landing was aborted. Although the major blame was placed on the crew, in the end, the FAA paid 40% of compensations to the passenger's families.
Sources

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