LANSA Flight 508
A Lineas Aereas Paraguayas Lockheed L-188 Electra similar to the accident aircraft
|Date||December 24, 1971|
|Summary||Pilot error, Lightning strike|
|Site||Puerto Inca, Peru|
|Aircraft type||Lockheed L-188A Electra|
|Operator||Lineas Aéreas Nacionales Sociedad Anonima|
|Flight origin||Jorge Chávez International Airport, Lima|
|Stopover||Captain Rolden International Airport, Pucallpa|
|Destination||Coronel FAP Francisco Secada Vignetta International Airport, Iquitos|
|Survivors||1 (Juliane Koepcke)|
LANSA Flight 508 was a Lockheed L-188A Electra turboprop, registered OB-R-941, operated as a scheduled domestic passenger flight by Lineas Aéreas Nacionales Sociedad Anonima (LANSA), that crashed in a thunderstorm en route from Lima to Pucallpa, Peru, on December 24, 1971, killing 91 people–all six of its crew and 85 of its 86 passengers. It is the deadliest lightning strike disaster in history. The sole survivor was 17-year-old Juliane Koepcke, who while strapped to her seat fell 2,800 m (9,200 ft) into the Amazon rainforest. She survived the fall and was then able to walk through the jungle for 11 days until being rescued by local lumbermen. The Electra was LANSA's last aircraft; the company lost its operating permit eleven days later.
LANSA Flight 508 departed Lima's Jorge Chávez International Airport just before noon on Christmas Eve on its way to Iquitos, Peru, with a scheduled stop at Pucallpa, Peru. The aircraft was flying at about 6,400 m (21,000 ft) above Mean Sea Level when it encountered an area of thunderstorms and severe turbulence. There is evidence the crew decided to continue the flight despite the hazardous weather ahead, apparently because of pressure to meet the holiday schedule.
Peruvian investigators cited "Intentional flight into hazardous weather conditions" as a cause of the crash.
Death toll and survivors
The sole survivor was 17-year-old Juliane Koepcke. Despite a broken collar bone, a deep gash to her right arm, an eye injury, and concussion, she was able to trek through the dense Amazon jungle for 10 days and found shelter in a hut. Local lumbermen found her and took her by canoe back to civilization.
It was later determined that as many as 14 other passengers also survived the fall from the plane but died awaiting rescue.
The movie "Miracles Still Happen" (1974) is based on the story. Koepcke's story was also told in 2000 in the documentary film Wings of Hope by director Werner Herzog. Koepcke's memoir Als ich vom Himmel fiel was published by the German publisher Piper Malik on March 10, 2011. (The English edition When I Fell From the Sky, was published by Titletown Publishing in November 2011.)
- AIRES Flight 8250
- LANSA Flight 502
- List of accidents and incidents involving commercial aircraft
- Pan Am Flight 214, another crash caused by lightning
- Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network
- "Worst lightning strike disaster – death toll". Guinness World Records.
- "Plane Crash Accident Record". planecrashinfo.com.
- Pleitgen, Frederik (2 July 2009). "Survivor still haunted by 1971 air crash". CNN. CNN.com. Archived from the original on 25 February 2018. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
- World Airlines Flight International, p. S31, 18 May 1972
- "Accident Database: Accident Synopsis 12241971Â®=OB-R-941". airdisaster.com.
- "Super70's Article". Archived from the original on 2017-05-08. Retrieved 2006-10-09.
- Koepcke, Juliane (2011). When I Fell From the Sky (1st English ed.). Green Bay, WI: TitleTown Publishing. p. 67. ISBN 978-0-9837547-0-1.
- "Miracles Still Happen (IMDb Record)". Retrieved 2016-04-13.
- "Wings of Hope (IMDb Record)". Retrieved 2006-10-09.
- "Juliane Koepcke - Als ich vom Himmel fiel" [Juliane Koepcke - When I fell from the sky]. piper-verlag.de (in German). 13 September 2013.
- Photo of Accident Aircraft on Aviation Safety Site
- Outside Magazine Top Survival Stories (Archive)
- Tournavista, Peru Record on Falling Rain Site
- BBC News - Juliane Koepcke: How I survived a plane crash