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Dominicana DC-9 air disaster

The Dominicana de Aviacion Santo Domingo DC-9 air disaster ocurred on February 15, 1970. The jetliner was on what would have been a short, 45 minute international flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico's Luis Munoz Marin International Airport. It took off from Las Americas International Airport in Santo Domingo at about 6:30 PM that afternoon.

all 97 passengers and five crew members died in the air crash, for a total of 102 deaths. Some notorious passengers were among the dead: former world boxing champion Carlos Cruz and his family were flying to San Juan for a rematch against Carlos Ortiz, Juan Ramon Loubriel, who participated in three professional sports leagues in Puerto Rico( basketball, volleyball and association football) and most of the members of Puerto Rico's women's national volleyball team were also on board, returning home after a friendly game against the Dominican Republic's women's national team. The few Puerto Rican volleyball players who could not be accomodated in this flight remember how they heard news about the crash on television and received the news with tears.

The airline came under heavy scrutinity after this tragedy, since a DC-3 of Dominicana on a domestic flight had also crashed only three days before, killing all twelve passengers on board. The airplane used for the Dominicana flight to San Juan on February 15 of 1970 was almost brand new, having been delivered to the airline from the McDonnell Douglas factory in 1969. The plane's registration was #HI-177, but there is no data as far as the flight's number.

Two minutes after take-off, it lost power on the right engine. The pilots tried to turn around, asking the Las Americas Airport control tower for an emergency landing permission, but, during the turn around, the left engine also lost power, and, because the airplane was in a turn around motion when the left engine failed, the jet basically dived into the water, in what has been the only jet airliner tragedy for both Las Americas and Luis Munoz Marin International Airports.

To the FAA and Dominican aviation authorities, it seemed rather strange that engine failure like that would happen to such a young aircraft, and the proceeding investigation showed that the airliner had been filled with contaminated gas on that fateful afternoon. The contamination on the gas used that day caused the engines to stop working.