Accident Boeing 727-225 N819EA, Tuesday 1 January 1985
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Date:Tuesday 1 January 1985
Time:20:30
Type:Silhouette image of generic B722 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Boeing 727-225
Owner/operator:Eastern Air Lines
Registration: N819EA
MSN: 22556/1793
Year of manufacture:1982
Engine model:Pratt & Whitney JT8D-17AR
Fatalities:Fatalities: 29 / Occupants: 29
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Category:Accident
Location:Nevado Illimani -   Bolivia
Phase: En route
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Asunción-Silvio Pettirossi International Airport (ASU/SGAS)
Destination airport:La Paz-El Alto Airport (LPB/SLLP)
Narrative:
Eastern flight 980 was a scheduled flight from Asuncion (ASU), Paraguay to La Paz (LPB), Bolivia.
The aircraft had reported crossing the DAKON intersection, 55 NM southeast of La Paz, at 25,000 ft. MSL. They were then cleared by La Paz ATC to descend to 18,000 feet, and the crew acknowledged this clearance. Although the Boeing 727 was supposed to be approaching La Paz along airway UA 320, on a 134° radial from the La Paz VOR, it veered significantly off course beyond DAKON; perhaps because the crew were maneuvering to avoid weather in the vicinity. The aircraft impacted the 19,600-ft. level of Mt. Illimani, a 21,000-ft. Andean peak, approximately 26 NM from the La Paz VOR/DME and 25 NM from La Paz runway 09R. Dark night, weather, and lack of visual references in the area all contributed to the crew’s inability to see and avoid the high terrain in their path.

A climbing expedition was organized the following summer to retrieve the flight recorders. The expedition reached the crash site and was able to dig through accumulated snow and examine the wreckage. However, bad weather and altitude sickness forced the expedition to turn back without recovering the recorders.
Early June 2016 an expedition found parts of the aircraft's cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder containers. Magnetic tape segments that were recovered were not the ¼-inch width tape from a cockpit voice recorder or flight data recorder.

Sources:

Investigation of Controlled Flight into Terrain : Descriptions of Flight Paths for Selected Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT) Aircraft Accidents, 1985-1997 / Robert O. Phillips, U.S. DoT (DOT-TSC-FA9D1-99-01)
Jet-Airliner Unfälle seit 1952 / J. Richter, Chr. Wolf
Operation Thonapa
NTSB press release

Statistics

  • 19th worst accident in 1985
  • 23rd worst accident of this aircraft type
  • 14th worst accident of this aircraft type at the time

Location

Images:


photo (c) FAA; Nevado Illimani; 01 January 1985; (publicdomain)


photo (c) Ryan Hales; New York-La Guardia Airport, NY (LGA/KLGA)

Revision history:

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