Delta Airlines 723
By Patrick Mondout
At a little after 11:00 a.m. on July 31, 1973, Delta Air Lines Flight
723, crashed into a seawall while executing an instrument landing system (ILS)
approach to runway 4R in heavy fog on the Logan International Airport,
Boston, There were 83 passengers, 5 crewmembers, and a cockpit observer
(on a Delta training assignment) on board the DC-9-31. All but two
occupants were killed in the crash.
The two passenger survived the initial crash and were rushed to
Massachusetts General Hospital. The first died within two hours. The
second had third and forth degree burns and traumatic injuries to his
He stated that he had been seated in the last row of seats next to a
window, and that when the aircraft stopped, he had been assisted in
releasing his seatbelt by a passenger next to him. He said that he then
had crawled through a window and away from the burning wreckage. He was
found by construction workers who stayed with him until an ambulance
arrived. Unfortunately he died on December 11, 1973.
Here is a Delta
DC-9-32 similar to the one involved in this
crash, as seen in Boston's Logan Field in April
Image courtesy of AirNikon.
Find more of his photos at Airliners.net
Flight 723 was a scheduled passenger flight from Burlington, Vermont,
to Logan International Airport (BOS), in Boston, Massachusetts. An
unscheduled stop was made at Manchester, New Hampshire, to pick up
passengers who were stranded because an earlier flight had been canceled
because of weather. Flight 723 was a continuation of Flight 524, which had
originated at Logan earlier the same day.
During the approach to Logan, instructions from the air traffic control
(ATC) were delayed while the controller
prevented a collision with two other aircraft. This put the aircraft
slightly off course for a normal landing.
To complicate matters, the DC-9's "flight director" - an
on-board computer - was inadvertently selected into "go around"
mode, which led to misleading indications from the instruments. The
weather was characterized by lowering ceilings and visibilities; sea fog
of increasing density was moving across the airport from an easterly
As it attempted to land in Boston, the aircraft struck a seawall about
165 feet to the right of the extended runway centerline and about 3,000
feet short of the runway displaced threshold.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined the probable
cause of the accident was the failure of the flightcrew to monitor
altitude and to recognize passage of the aircraft through the approach
decision height during an unstabilized precision approach conducted in
rapidly changing meteorological conditions. Approach was due initially to
the aircraft's passing the outer marker above the glide scope at an
excessive airspeed and thereafter compounded by the flightcrew's
preoccupation with the questionable information presented by the flight
director system. The poor positioning of the flight for the approach was
in part the result of nonstandard air traffic control services
A picture of this aircraft is here.
Source: National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report.