Veterinarian Dr. Geoffrey Broderick recalls Avianca jetliner crash in Cove Neck, 24 years later
COVE NECK - This weekend marks the 24th anniversary of the Avianca jetliner crash in Cove Neck that killed 73 people and injured another 85.
The jetliner that originated from Colombia was headed to JFK International Airport on Jan. 25, 1990 when it ran out of fuel and crashed into a rural part of Cove Neck.
Veterinarian Dr. Geoffrey Broderick was one of the first people to arrive at the site of the crash and help the injured survivors. He revisited the site with News 12 and recalled the trying moments of the tragedy.
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"We were taking pieces and parts of things and making braces, and bracing their broken arms and putting in IVs," he said. "We had IVs hanging from the trees, from the branches, keeping the IVs going."
News 12 was there as emergency crews responded and some even used the lights from crews' cameras to help with the search and rescue efforts. The area where the plane went down was poorly lit. The wreckage didn't catch fire because the fuel tanks were completely empty when it went down.
Broderick says that when emergency helicopters arrived at the scene, he hopped in one chopper with injured children. He says he made a special connection with one young girl, whose mother and brother were killed in the crash.
Her name was Lighty, Broderick says, and he spoke with her in Spanish. Her collar bone and leg had been broken and she recalled the details of the crash to him.
When the helicopter arrived at the hospital, Broderick flew back to the crash site to help the dozens of others who were injured, but not before making sure Lighty was OK. He says he returned to the hospital several times over the next few months to visit the victims, including Lighty, who was taken back to Colombia by her father.