TIGER ON A LEASH by Alvin Moscow
Kirkus Star


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A successor to the earlier Course (the Andrew Doria-Stockholm sea disaster) has just as sure sales possibilities and provides a study-in-depth of the 1957 crash of a Northeast Airlines DC-6A on Riker's Island, New York, that killed 20 out of 101 Miami-bound persons and severely burned many others. If the minute-by-minute technique is by now a little shopworn, still it's an informative, absorbing, technically accurate and intelligent book-the more so because it deals with one of the most baffling crashes in commercial aviation history. This much is known- Northeast Flight 823 took off in a snow-storm after hours of delay, piloted by a captain who had already survived two crashes and had little experience on a DC6, along with a co-pilot and a flight engineer with even less. Moreover the airplane, a shabby converted cargo crate, carried a ton more weight than the manifest showed. Airborne 31 seconds in all, the DC6 banked sharply to port, veered an astonishing 119 degrees off course, before the crash landing when it burst into flame. Offhand, these factors would seem to add up to gross negligence, yet Moscow shows how the obvious may not be true. None of these factors or even combination of factors could be officially assigned blame for the crash. The investigators finally blamed the pilot, a finding still bitterly disputed. Northeast, which had not had an accident in 23 years, had two more in the next 18 months leading to a CAB investigation and a shake-up in management. The book provides plentiful descriptions of passengers and crew, how they happened to be aboard, and a reconstruction of the scene inside the downed plane as a blowtorch blast of flame shot through the cabin and the survivors struggled to escape.... Sales seem certain- and the publishers will do their best to assure them.

Publisher: Putnam