Military Medicine Responds to Ecuador Crisis

Phil Gunby
JAMA. 1996;276(23):1862-1863. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540230012006.
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WHAT LITERALLY began as a nightmare has ended as an initial realization of US military medicine's dream of reacting to human need on a global basis.

Many people in a densely packed neighborhood of the Ecuadorian coastal community of Manta already were asleep when, about 10:30 PM October 22, the multinational crew of a US-flagged 4-engine civilian 707 cargo jet guided the big plane on takeoff from a nearby runway.

Then something—loss of thrust from both engines on 1 wing has been suggested—went terribly wrong. As the Peruvian and Americans in the cockpit struggled to gain altitude, the big jet hit a church steeple in Manta.

Flaming jet-propellant fuel sprayed from its torn tanks. In addition to the 3-man aircrew, more than 20 persons on the ground were killed and more than 60 were injured.

Because a high percentage of the injuries involved burns, requiring specialized care that placed severe


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