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Accident description
Last updated: 18 September 2016
Date:Tuesday 1 January 1985
Time:ca 20:30
Type:Silhouette image of generic B722 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 727-225
Operator:Eastern Air Lines
Registration: N819EA
C/n / msn: 22556/1793
First flight: 1982-03-12 (2 years 10 months)
Engines: 3 Pratt & Whitney JT8D-17AR
Crew:Fatalities: 10 / Occupants: 10
Passengers:Fatalities: 19 / Occupants: 19
Total:Fatalities: 29 / Occupants: 29
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Nevado Illimani (   Bolivia)
Crash site elevation: 5974 m (19600 feet) amsl
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Asunción-Silvio Pettirossi International Airport (ASU/SGAS), Paraguay
Destination airport:La Paz-El Alto Airport (LPB/SLLP), Bolivia
Eastern flight 980 was a scheduled flight from Ascuncion (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 possibly flight data recorder as well.

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

» 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


photo of Boeing 727-225 N819EA
photo of Boeing 727-225 N819EA
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This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Asunción-Silvio Pettirossi International Airport to La Paz-El Alto Airport as the crow flies is 1467 km (917 miles).

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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Boeing 727

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