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Fine Air was an international cargo airline. It began in 1989 under the supervising eye of owner J. Frank Fine. When it was flying, Fine Air had various members of the Fine family work at different capabilities. Fine Air' hubs were in Miami International Airport, Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta and Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in Puerto Rico. It operated DC-8 and Lockheed L-1011 type jets.
In 2000, Fine Air filed for bankruptcy and soon after, it was merged into Arrow Air, another cargo airline. Both airlines would still use their respective names until 2004 when they were called, "Arrow Cargo".
On August 7, 1997, Fine Air flight 101, a Cargo DC-8-61F registration # N27UA, en route from Miami to Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic, suffered sudden movement of cargo materials in the aft cargo hold while on take off. The aircraft's nose rose steeply due to the sudden uneven weight distribution caused by shifting boxes of denim material that had not been securely fastened. Furthermore, the aircraft was approximately 2700 kg overloaded.
The pilots, departing out of the former Runway 27R (now 26L) attempted to recover but the aircraft stalled and crashed onto a field adjacent the Miami City Rail Yard less than a mile from the airport. The aircraft missed two factories, a commercial building, and the Budweiser Distribution Center in unincorporated Miami, Florida between the populated residential suburbs of Miami Springs and Doral, FL.
It skidded across the field and onto NW 72nd Ave, a roadway that is typically full of traffic during the lunch hour but was surprisingly quiet at 12:36p EST when it came down. The plane's wreckage skidded quickly across the roadway and onto the parking lot of a commercial mini-mall across the street from the empty field; it took out 26 cars in the lot.
Inside one of the cars sat a man who had just arrived back at his shop in the mini-mall after picking up lunch for his wife and himself. He was unable to make it out of the car and was caught up in the fireball that engulfed the multi-lane avenue, field, and parking lot.
The plane's wreckage fell four feet short of the entrances to three shops. It missed two occupied cars and a truck that were waiting for the traffic signal at the intersection of NW 31st Street and NW 72nd Avenue, less than 30 yards (27 m) away.
The only deaths were those of the three aircrew members, a company security guard on the flight, and the man in the parking lot. In the minutes following the crash, police were alerted to a fire at NW 72nd Ave, only to discover it was a plane crash. For nearly 45 minutes, mixed reports claimed the plane was a passenger flight, but within the hour the control tower at MIA confirmed it was Fine Air Cargo Flight 101.
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