Jacksonville, FL Plane Crashes On Take-Off, Dec 1984


Jacksonville, Fla. (AP) -- A commuter plane belonging to an airline that was shut down for two weeks last month for alleged safety violations, crashed and burst into flames, killing all 13 people aboard, authorities said. It was the airline's third crash in six months.
The bodies of the 11 passengers and two crew members aboard Provincetown-Boston Airlines Flight 839 were left in the wreckage overnight pending the arrival of National Transportation Safety Board Investigators, said police spokesman Sgt. CHARLEY HILL.
The investigators planned today to inspect the wreckage, which was strewn over a mile-wide swath of swamp. The cause of the crash was not immediately known, and an FAA spokesman said he could see no immediate connection to the airline's safety problems.
Police stood watch in freezing temperatures as portable generator lights illuminated the site 1 1/2 miles northwest of Jacksonville International Airport.
Rescue efforts after the 8:15 p.m. crash Thursday, were hampered by muck 3 feet deep, said airport operations manager CHARLES HARDRICK.
"We could find no sign of life," HILL said.
The plane -- a Brazilian-made twin-engine turboprop known as an Embraer Bandelrante -- crashed in a densly wooded, swampy area north of the airport. It burst into flames on impact, HILL said.
The plane, headed from Jacksonville to Tampa, "took off and disappeared immediately off the radar screen," HILL said. "The inside of the cabin is charred," he said, adding that some of the victims were thrown from the plane when it crashed.
The plane did not radio the tower of an emergency and visibility was seven miles so the weather was "no factor" in the crash, said FAA spokesman ROGER MYERS, in Atlanta.
PBA officials would not comment on the crash beyond their written statement, which said, "There was no pilot contact or any indication of trouble prior to the accident."
Two people died in PBA's two previous crashes. After one crash, the NTSB found evidence that the wrong type of fuel had been pumped into the aircraft.
The FAA pulled PBA's operating license Nov. 10, charging the carrier with violating federal safety rules. The action was prompted by complaints from a former PBA pilot and capped a two-month investigation into allegations of shoddy maintenance, inadequate pilot training and falsified inspection records.
Two weeks later, PBA had complied with FAA regulations and was allowed to put part of its 103-aircraft fleet of propeller planes back in the air. At the time, FAA spokesman JACK BARKER called it the "most-inspected airline in the nation."
PBA, with New England headquarters in Hyannis, Mass., serves cities in Florida, Massachusetts and New York.

Marysville Journal-Tribune Ohio 1984-12-07