FORT WORTH, TEX., NOV. 14 -- The captain of a jet that crashed in a 1985 thunderstorm, killing 137 people, had prescriptions for a tranquilizer filled several times in the months before the crash, two newspapers report.
There is no indication that Edward M. Connors, who died in the crash of Delta Flight 191 at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, was under the influence of the tranquilizer at the time, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram said in a copyright story today.
The New York-based Journal of Commerce said it will carry a similar report Monday.
The Journal said information about Connors' prescription drug use was revealed in depositions taken for a lawsuit against Delta by about 50 survivors of some of those killed in the Aug. 2, 1985, crash. The suit to determine liability for the accident is scheduled to begin here Jan. 11.
The Lockheed L1011 hit a water tower while attempting to land during a thunderstorm. Many of the 27 passengers and flight attendants who survived were seriously injured.
Records from a Fort Worth pharmacy show that Connors had prescriptions for Stelazine filled or refilled 13 times between September 1982 and June 24, 1985, the Star-Telegram said. He never indicated in records of regular physical examinations that he was taking the drug. Connors last purchased Stelazine about five weeks before the crash, the newspaper said.
The Journal quoted unidentified Delta sources as acknowledging Connors was prescribed Stelazine as treatment for bruxism, involuntary teeth-grinding.
But "we have sworn depositions from three medical experts saying the small dosage the captain took could not affect his ability to command the aircraft," Delta spokesman William Berry said.
Federal Aviation Administration officials said use of the tranquilizer would have disqualified a pilot from flying.