Date & Time:
Aug 18, 1974
Howard - La Paz
Aircraft flight hours:
The crew was completing a flight from Howard AFN, Panama, to La Paz. While descending to La Paz-El Alto Airport, the crew encountered poor weather conditions with limited visibility due to clouds from 700 to 24,000 feet. The crew informed ATC about his position about three minutes from La Paz VOR when he was cleared to descend from 24,000 to 18,000 feet. Shortly later, while flying at an altitude of 18,700 feet, the airplane struck the slope of a mountain (20,000 feet high) located 28 km north of El Alto Airport. The airplane disintegrated on impact and all seven crew members were killed.
The accident was the consequence of a controlled flight into terrain probably caused by a navigational error on part of the crew or a wrong instruments interpretation while descending in marginal weather conditions. The crew probably thought he was above the La Paz VOR when in reality, the airplane was few km to the east of this VOR.