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Strange Noises Reported by Passengers on Earlier Leg of Fatal USAir Flight

November 21, 1994| From Associated Press

CHICAGO — At least three passengers on an earlier leg of USAir Flight 427 complained of strange noises before the jet took off on its final, fatal flight, a lawyer representing victims' families said.

Philip H. Corboy, a lawyer suing USAir on behalf of some of the families, said reports of complaints were filed Thursday in depositions in federal court.

The three passengers said they had heard an odd noise during the Sept. 8 flight from Charlotte, N.C., to Chicago, he said.

The jet left Chicago for Pittsburgh, Pa., later that day and crashed a few miles from the Pittsburgh airport, killing all 132 people aboard. Investigators have not determined the cause.

The type of noise the passengers said they heard was not detailed in the depositions.

USAir's chief maintenance foreman in Chicago, Gerald E. Fox, was told about a report of unusual noise but allowed the plane to take off without investigating because the pilot told him the craft was fine, USAir spokesman Richard Weintraub said Sunday.

Fox is a defendant in the lawsuit filed by Corboy on behalf of some victims' families, along with USAir and Boeing Co.

Weintraub said the jet had two routine preflight checks before taking off for Pittsburgh.

Also Sunday, USAir announced it has hired a retired commander of U.S. air forces in Europe to become the airline's new vice president of corporate safety.

Robert C. Oaks, 58, left his military post earlier this year, ending a 35-year career. He also is a former chief of the Air Force's training organization, the Air Training Command. He starts Dec. 1.

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