Avianca Flight 203
An Avianca Boeing 727-100 similar to the one involved.
|Date||November 27, 1989|
|Fatalities||110 (including 3 on ground)|
|Aircraft type||Boeing 727|
|Flight origin||El Dorado Int'l Airport|
|Destination||Alfonso Bonilla Aragón Int'l Airport|
Avianca Airlines Flight 203 was a Colombian domestic passenger flight from El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá to Alfonso Bonilla Aragón International Airport in Cali. It was destroyed by a bomb over the municipality of Soacha on November 27, 1989.
The aircraft took off from the Colombian capital Bogotá en route to Cali. It was in the air for five minutes and flying at a speed of 794 kilometres per hour (493 mph) when an explosive charge detonated on board, igniting fuel vapors in an empty fuel tank.
The aircraft was a Boeing 727-21 with registration number HK-1803; it was purchased from Pan Am. The aircraft took off as scheduled at 7:11 a.m. After 5 minutes into the flight a bomb placed near the fuel tank exploded at 13,000 feet. The blast ripped the airliner apart: the nose section separated from the tail section, which went down in flames. All 107 people on board were killed, as well as three people on the ground who were killed by falling debris. According to the investigations the bomb was placed by a man wearing a suit who was able to bring the bomb inside the aircraft in a suitcase.
The bombing of Flight 203 was the deadliest single criminal attack in the many decades of Colombian violence. Pablo Escobar of the Medellín drug cartel planned the bombing, hoping it would kill presidential candidate for the 1990 elections César Gaviria Trujillo. Gaviria, however, was not on the aircraft, and would go on to become President of Colombia. Two Americans were among the dead, and because of this, the Bush Administration would begin Intelligence Support Activity operations to find Escobar.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byTR6eyCjf8&feature=related Documentary on the Attack
- http://www.semana.com/wf_InfoArticulo.aspx?idArt=105457 Report by Semana magazine
- Bowden, Mark. Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World's Greatest Outlaw (2001; ISBN 0-87113-783-6), pg. 80.
- Bowden, pg. 81.