Eastern Air Lines Flight 605

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Eastern Air Lines Flight 605
An USAF C-54 Skymaster.jpg
A Douglas C-54 Skymaster similar to the accident aircraft
Date May 30, 1947 (1947-05-30)
Summary Loss of control for reasons unknown
Site 1.9 miles east of Bainbridge, Maryland
Aircraft type Douglas C-54B Skymaster
Operator Eastern Air Lines
Registration NC88814
Flight origin Newark International Airport
Destination Miami International Airport
Passengers 49
Crew 4
Fatalities 53
Injuries 0
Survivors 0

Eastern Air Lines Flight 605 was a domestic flight in the US from Newark to Miami on May 30, 1947. The flight crashed near Bainbridge, Maryland, causing the deaths of all 53 passengers and crew on board in what was then the worst disaster in the history of North American commercial aviation.[1]

Accident flight[edit]

Flight 605 departed from Newark International Airport at 17:04 for a scheduled domestic flight to Miami. It climbed to its assigned cruising altitude of 4,000 feet (1,200 m). While flying over Philadelphia, the pilot reported "all is well".[2] At 17:41, people on the ground saw Flight 605 enter a steepening dive and crash 2 miles (3 km) east of Bainbridge. All four crew and 49 passengers died in the crash. At the time, Flight 605 was the deadliest crash in United States aviation history.[3]


The Civil Aviation Board's investigation of the crash determined that the probable cause of this accident was a sudden loss of control, for reasons unknown, resulting in a dive to the ground.[4]

In his book Fate Is the Hunter, Ernest K. Gann suggests that the crash was caused by unporting of the elevators due to a missing hinge bolt, Gann having narrowly avoided a similar fate himself on the same day.[5]


The DC-4 aircraft, serial number 18380, was built in 1944 and was delivered officially as a C-54B Skymaster to the United States Air Force in October 1944. On the same day it was transferred with the designation R5D-2 to the United States Navy. It was leased to Eastern Air Lines on 29 November 1945 as fleet number 708.


  1. ^ "Fiery death for 53 in crash of airliner". Ottawa Citizen. 31 May 1947.
  2. ^ "Structural Flaw Thought Cause of Airliner Crash". Middletown Times Herald. 31 May 1947.
  3. ^ Aircraft accident Douglas C-54B-15-DO NC88814 Bainbridge, MD
  4. ^ CAB Accident Investigation Report[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Gann, Ernest K. (1986). Fate Is the Hunter. New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9780671636036.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°36′51″N 76°03′38″W / 39.614166°N 76.060632°W / 39.614166; -76.060632