Date & Time: Dec 8, 1963 at 2059 LT
Type of aircraft:
Scheduled Revenue Flight
San Juan – Baltimore – Philadelphia
United States of America
Crew on board:
Pax on board:
Captain / Total hours on type:
Copilot / Total hours on type:
Aircraft flight hours:
Pan American Flight 214, a Boeing 707-121, N709PA, departed Friendship International Airport, Baltimore, Maryland, for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at 2024 1 December 8, 1963. The aircraft, with 73 passengers and a crew of eight, was on an Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) clearance. Flight 214 reported over the New Castle, Delaware VOR at 2042 and was instructed to hold at 5,000 feet, west of the VOR. At 2058 a "MAYDAY" 2 transmission was heard from the flight. Shortly thereafter, the pilot of another aircraft broadcasted that "Clipper 214 is going down in flames". Flight 214 crashed two miles east of Elkton, Maryland, at 2059. All persons aboard the aircraft were killed instantly. The aircraft was destroyed by explosion, impact, and fire.
The Board determines the probable cause of this accident was lightning induced ignition of the fuel/air mixture in the No. 1 reserve fuel tank with resultant explosive disintegration of the left outer wing and loss of control.