59 Years ago today: On 1 March 1962 an American Airlines Boeing 707 lost control and crashed into Jamaica Bay off New York, killing all 95 occupants.

Date:Thursday 1 March 1962
Type:Silhouette image of generic B701 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 707-123B
Operator:American Airlines
C/n / msn:17633/12
First flight:1959
Total airframe hrs:8147
Engines:Pratt & Whitney JT3D-1-MC6
Crew:Fatalities: 8 / Occupants: 8
Passengers:Fatalities: 87 / Occupants: 87
Total:Fatalities: 95 / Occupants: 95
Aircraft damage:Destroyed
Aircraft fate:Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Jamaica Bay, NY (   United States of America)
Phase:Initial climb (ICL)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:New York-Idlewild International Airport, NY (IDL/KIDL), United States of America
Destination airport:Los Angeles International Airport, CA (LAX/KLAX), United States of America

The American Airlines Boeing 707, named “Flagship District of Columbia”, was cleared for takeoff at 10:05 on a scheduled domestic non-stop IFR flight to Los Angeles, California. The aircraft carried out what appeared to be a normal takeoff, and lift-off was at 10:07 hours about 5000 ft down runway 31L. At 10:07:37 the aircraft started a gentle turn to the left approximately 8000 ft down the runway, at an altitude of 100 ft, and was established on a heading of 290° at 10:07:42. Straightening out from the turn, the aircraft continued to climb for several seconds on a heading of 290° and started a second turn to the left as instructed by Departure Control. These manoeuvres were in accordance with the noise abatement procedures then in effect for taking-off from runway 31L. Having started the second turn, the angle of bank increased until the aircraft rolled through 90° of bank at a peak altitude of about 1600 ft msl . It then entered an inverted, nose-low attitude and plunged earthward in a nearly vertical dive. It struck the earth in the shallow waters of Pumpkin Patch Channel of Jamaica Bay during low tide. Impact was at an angle of approximately 78° nose down on a magnetic heading of 300°. Fire broke out a few minutes later.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: “A rudder control system malfunction, producing yaw, sideslip, and roll leading to a loss of control from which recovery action was not effective.”