Airplane Crash - Near San Fernando, Chile 10/13/1972

Details of airplane crash/ shootdown - Near San Fernando, Chile

LocationNear San Fernando, Chile
OperatorUruguayan Air Force - TAMU
RouteMendoza - Santiago
TypeFairchild-Hiller FH-227D/LCD
SummaryThe plane left Montevideo bound for Santiago, Chile carrying the Old Christians Rugby Team. After leaving Mendoza and while flying at FL150, the copilot radioed he was over Curico and requested clearance to FL100. Because of head winds, the plane was actually still over the Andes. As the plane descended into clouds it ran into turbulence and the crew found themselves surrounded by mountains on all sides. The crew tried to climb out but the right wingtip struck the mountainside. The right wing detached and separated from the aircraft taking off part of the tail. The fuselage slid down a mountain slope and came to rest in the Andes mountains at an altitude of 12,000 feet. The survivors were not found until 12/22/72. Eight passengers died in an avalanche on October 30. Survivors resorted to cannibalism to stay alive. The book and movie 'Alive' is based on this accident. The aircraft flew into a rotor zone or mountain wave which led to loss of control of the aircraft.

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