United Airlines Flight 826, Mainliner Will Rogers, registration N8013U, was a DC-8-11 carrying 84 people from O'Hare International Airport in Chicago to Idlewild Airport (now John F. Kennedy International Airport) in Queens. The crew wasCaptain Robert Sawyer (age 46), First Officer Robert Fiebing (40), Flight Engineer Richard Pruitt (30), and four stewardesses.
Trans World Airlines Flight 266, Star of Sicily, registration N6907C, was a Super Constellation carrying 44 people from Dayton and Columbus, Ohio, to LaGuardia Airport in Queens. The crew was Captain DavidWollam (age 39), First Officer Dean Bowen (32), Flight Engineer LeRoy Rosenthal (30), and two stewardesses.
The likely cause of the accident was identified in a report by the US Civil Aeronautics Board: "United Flight 826 proceeded beyond its clearance limit and the confines of the airspace allocated to the flight by Air Traffic Control. A contributingfactor was the high speed of the United DC-8 as it approached the Preston intersection, coupled with the change of clearance which reduced theen-route distance along Victor 123 by approximately 11 miles."