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J Trauma. 1993 Feb;34(2):282-4.

Analysis of injuries following the crash of Avianca Flight 52.

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Department of Surgery, Division of Trauma, State University of New York, Stony Brook.


Analyses of injuries sustained in airline disasters have been hampered by the frequent association of burn injury and by poor documentation. This report analyzes autopsy data from the crash of Avianca Flight 52 on Long Island, New York. There were 158 passengers of whom 73 died. The majority of persons had multiple organ injuries (average, 3.8/victim). Severe neurologic trauma included subarachnoid hemorrhage (65%), skull fracture (32%), and brain laceration (22%). Chest injuries included rib fractures (80%: average, 8.3/victim), hemothorax (58%), sternal fracture (22%), and lung contusion (33%). Orthopedic injuries (average, 4.4/victim) included pelvic (22%), tibial (37%), femur (22%), thoracic spine (33%), cervical spine (22%), and lumbar fractures (5%). Cardiovascular injuries included aortic transection (25%), heart laceration (14%), and major vascular injury (10%). Intra-abdominal injuries included liver (10%), spleen (8%), and kidney (10%). Unrestrained infants suffered severe injuries. Deaths in this airline disaster were from severe head and upper body injuries. This report may allow reappraisal of current restraint and safety measures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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