NTSB Identification: NYC94LA062.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR AMERICAN INTL AIRWAYS
Accident occurred Tuesday, March 15, 1994 in COVINGTON, KY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/07/1995
Aircraft: DOUGLAS DC-8-61, registration: N817CK
Injuries: 1 Serious,2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

AT AN EN ROUTE STOP, COMPANY MAINTENANCE PERSONNEL OPENED THE FORWARD OVERWING EMERGENCY EXIT TO GAIN ACCESS TO A NAVIGATION LIGHT THAT NEEDED REPAIR. THE FLIGHT ENGINEER SAID THAT DURING PREFLIGHT INSPECTION, THE EMERGENCY EXIT APPEARED TO BE IN PLACE, THOUGH HE DID NOT PHYSICALLY EXAMINE THE EXITS OR LATCHES. LATER, DURING CLIMBOUT, THE FLIGHTCREW WAS UNABLE TO PRESSURIZE THE AIRPLANE. DESPITE OBJECTIONS FROM THE OTHER CREWMEMBERS, THE CAPTAIN ELECTED TO PROCEED WITH THE FLIGHT. THE CREW DONNED THEIR OXYGEN MASKS & A CLIMB WAS CONTINUED TO A CRUISE ALTITUDE AT FL330. SHORTLY AFTER LEVEL OFF, THE CAPTAIN BECAME INCAPACITATED FROM DECOMPRESSION SICKNESS. THE FIRST OFFICER TOOK COMMAND & THE FLIGHT DIVERTED FOR AN EMERGENCY LANDING AT COVINGTON, KY. AFTER FLIGHT, THE EMERGENCY EXIT DOOR WAS FOUND LAYING INSIDE THE AIRPLANE. WHEN CHECKED, THE EXIT DOOR WOULD NOT FIT PROPERLY IN THE FRAME, & THE DOOR LATCHES WOULD NOT ENGAGE THE LATCH PLATES ON THE FRAME, EVEN WHEN THE HANDLE WAS MOVED TO THE LOCKED POSITION.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

THE CAPTAIN'S IMPROPER DECISION TO CONDUCT FLIGHT AT HIGH ALTITUDE IN AN UNPRESSURIZED AIRPLANE, WHICH RESULTED IN HIS INCAPACITION FROM DEPRESSURIZATION SICKNESS. A FACTOR RELATED TO THE ACCIDENT WAS: MAINTENANCE PERSONNEL FAILED TO PROPERLY SECURE THE EMERGENCY EXIT DOOR AFTER IT WAS REMOVED TO PERFORM MAINTENANCE.

Full narrative available

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