Date & Time: Mar 16, 1969 at 1400 LT
Type of aircraft:
Scheduled Revenue Flight
Caracas – Maracaibo – Miami
Crew on board:
Pax on board:
After takeoff from runway 04L at Maracaibo-Grano de Oro Airport, while in initial climb at an altitude of 150 feet, the airplane struck power cables. It lost speed and height then crashed in a huge explosion into the district of La Trinidad located near the airport. The aircraft was totally destroyed by impact forces and a post crash fire and all 84 occupants were killed as well as 71 people on the ground. More than 20 buildings were destroyed and more than 100 people were injured, some of them seriously.
Takeoff to Miami was attempted in marginal weather conditions from runway 04L (6,792 feet long). For undetermined reason, the temperature sensors located along the runway transmitted wrong values. Prior to departure, the crew performed the calculations necessary for the takeoff configuration and referred to these wrong values, causing erroneous takeoff performances. Thus, the takeoff roll was longer than expected and the rotation was completed later than normal. After liftoff, the minimum altitude was insufficient to clear the obstacles located past the runway end.