Date & Time:
May 19, 1993 at 1506 LT
Panama City – Medellín – Bogotá
On the leg from Panama City to Medellín, the crew was approaching the Abejorral NDB at an altitude of 16,000 feet and was cleared to descend to FL120. Few minutes later, while descending to the altitude of 12,300 feet in poor weather conditions, the three engine aircraft struck the slope of Mt Páramo Frontino located about 85 km northwest of Medellín-José María Córdova Airport. The aircraft disintegrated on impact and all 132 occupants were killed. At the time of the accident, the visibility was poor due to clouds, mist and rain.
It was determined that the accident was the consequence of a controlled flight into terrain after the crew mistakenly initiated the descent prematurely, causing the aircraft to descend below the minimum prescribed altitude. It was established that the crew reported to be over the Abejorral NDB while in fact, the aircraft did not reach already this beacon. Thunderstorm activity probably influenced some instruments and the RNG VOR was out of service since few month following a terrorist attack.