This mishap occurred seven years before initial studies into Crew Resource Management but certainly not before pilots were well aware of the prime directive when it comes to handling aircraft problems: fly the airplane first. More about this: Crew Resource Management
Everything here is from the references shown below, with a few comments in an alternate color.
Figure: Eastern Airlines 401, from anonymous (GNU Free Documentation License)
[NTSB AAR-73-14, ¶1.1.]
The assigned altitude was 2,000 feet.
[NTSB AAR-73-14, ¶1]
Inteviews revealed that Eastern first officers would normally use the "B" autopilot.
[NTSB AAR-73-14, ¶2.1]
[NTSB AAR-73-14, ¶3.1]
[NTSB AAR-73-14, ¶3.2] The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the failure of the flight crew to monitor the flight instruments during the final 4 minutes of flight, and to detect an unexpected descent soon enough to prevent impact with the ground. Preoccupation with a malfunction of, the nose landing gear position indicating system distracted the crew's attention from the instruments and allowed the descent to go unnoticed.
NTSB Aircraft Accident Report, AAR-73-14, Eastern Airlines Flight 401, L-1011, N310EA, Miami, Florida, December 29, 1972
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