Eastern Air Lines Flight 980
An Eastern Boeing 727-200 similar to the one involved in an accident
|Date||1 January 1985|
|Summary||Controlled flight into terrain|
|Site||Mount Illimani, Bolivia|
|Aircraft type||Boeing 727-225 Advanced|
|Operator||Eastern Air Lines|
|Flight origin||Silvio Pettirossi International Airport, Asunción, Paraguay|
|1st stopover||El Alto International Airport, La Paz, Bolivia|
|2nd stopover||Jorge Chávez International Airport, Lima, Peru|
|3rd stopover||José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport, Guayaquil, Ecuador|
|4th stopover||Tocumen International Airport, Panama City, Panama|
|Last stopover||Miami International Airport, Florida, USA|
|Destination||O'Hare International Airport, Chicago, Illinois, USA|
Eastern Air Lines Flight 980 was a scheduled international flight from Silvio Pettirossi International Airport in Asunción, Paraguay and was destined for El Alto International Airport in La Paz, Bolivia. On January 1, 1985, it struck Mount Illimani at an altitude of 19,600 feet (6,000 m). All 19 passengers and 10 crew were killed, including the wife of the US Ambassador to Paraguay, Marian Davis.
Contributing factors were poor weather and visibility at night. Approaching La Paz, the aircraft was following airway UA 320 on the 134° radial toward the La Paz VOR. They passed the DAKON intersection approximately 55 nautical miles (102 km; 63 mi) from La Paz and reported the crossing at 25,000 feet (7,600 m) feet, and were then instructed to descend to 18,000 feet (5,500 m). The crew acknowledged the instruction and began their descent. At some point after this exchange, the aircraft steered significantly off the airway for unknown reasons, possibly to avoid weather. The accident occurred 26 nautical miles (48 km; 30 mi) from La Paz VOR and 25 nautical miles (46 km; 29 mi) from runway 9R at La Paz airport. Due to the extreme high altitude and inaccessibility of the accident location, the Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder were never recovered.
In 2006, climbers on Mount Illimani found wreckage of the plane which had been revealed by melting ice. No bodies were found, though various personal effects of the passengers were recovered. Local climbers believe it is only a matter of time before bodies and the Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder will emerge from the ice.
- Investigation of Controlled Flight into Terrain. Descriptions of Flight Paths for Selected Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT) Aircraft Accidents, 1985-1997. by Robert O. Phillips. Federal Aviation Administration, U. S. Department Of Transportation, Project Memorandum DOT-TSC-FA9D1-99-01, March 1999.
- Simon Romero (15 January 2011). "Melting in Andes Reveals Remains and Wreckage". International Herald Tribune.
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