Charlotte, NC Jet Crash Kills Sixty Nine, Sep 1974
Eastern Air Lines Flight 212 was an Eastern Air Lines Douglas DC-9-31, carrying 78 passengers and four crew, operating as a scheduled flight within the United States from Charleston, South Carolina to Chicago, Illinois, with an intermediate stop in Charlotte, North Carolina.
On the morning of Wednesday, September 11, 1974, while conducting an instrument approach in dense ground fog into Douglas Municipal Airport in Charlotte, the aircraft crashed more than three miles (5 km) short of runway 36, killing 72 of the 82 on board. Thirteen survived the initial impact at 7:34 am EDT, including the co-pilot and one flight attendant, but three more ultimately died from severe burn injuries. One of the initial survivors died of injuries 29 days after the accident.
Among the fatalities were the vice president for academic affairs of the Medical University of South Carolina, Dr. James Colbert, Jr. (the father of future comedian Stephen Colbert) and two of his sons; Rear Admiral Charles Cummings, acting commandant of the Sixth Naval District; three employees of Charleston newspaper The Post and Courier (production manager Lewis Weston, circulation manager Charles McDonald, and mail room supervisor Jack Sanders); television anchorman Wayne Seal of WCIV in Sullivan's Island, South Carolina; and John Merriman, news editor for the CBS Evening News.
The accident was investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which released its final report on May 23, 1975. The NTSB concluded that the accident was caused by the flight crew's lack of altitude awareness and poor cockpit discipline.