ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 757-23A N52AW Lima, Peru
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Wednesday 2 October 1996
Type:Silhouette image of generic B752 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 757-23A
Registration: N52AW
MSN: 25489/505
First flight: 1992-11-16 (3 years 11 months)
Total airframe hrs:10654
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney PW2037
Crew:Fatalities: 9 / Occupants: 9
Passengers:Fatalities: 61 / Occupants: 61
Total:Fatalities: 70 / Occupants: 70
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:89 km (55.6 mls) NW off Lima, Peru (   Pacific Ocean)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Lima-Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM/SPIM), Peru
Destination airport:Santiago-Arturo Merino Benitez Airport (SCL/SCEL), Chile
AeroPeru Flight 603, a Boeing 757-200, crashed into the sea off Lima, Peru, killing all 70 occupants.
The aircraft performed a regular passenger service from Lima, Peru to Santiago, Chile. The flight took off from runway 15 at Lima Airport at 00:42 hours local time (05:42 UTC).
While climbing through an altitude of approximately 200-300 ft, the pilots noted that the airspeed and altitude indications were too low. In calm winds, the windshear warning suddenly sounded three times. The flight crew then declared an emergency.
The crew also started to receive rudder ratio and mach speed trim warnings, which were repeated throughout the flight, distracting their attention and adding to the problem of multiple alarms and warnings which saturated and bewildered them, creating confusion and chaos.
At 00:53 the flight contacted the Departure controller again, eight minutes after the initial call, reporting they "request vectors from now on". By then the aircraft had climbed over sea and the flight crew were attempting to turn back, while trying to manage all conflicting warnings.
At 00:55:07, the crew radioed: "You're going to have to help us with altitudes and speed if that's possible." And from that moment until the end, the stick shaker, overspeed and "too low – terrain" alarms began to sound.
This caused confusion and the copilot said to the captain: "...right now we're stalling." The captain disagreed: "we're not stalling. it's fictitious, it's fictitious". Referring to the stick shaker, the copilot replies "... how can we not be stalling?".
At 01:04 the flight crew was attempting to maintain 4000 feet, however one minute later they start a measured and continuous descent. The aircraft kept descending and impacted the water with the left wing and no. 1 engine at a 10 degrees angle, at a speed of 260 knots. The aircraft pulled up to about 300 feet and flew for another 17 seconds. It then rolled inverted and crashed. The captain's airspeed indicated 450 knots and altitude 9500 feet.

Investigation results showed that the aircraft's three static ports on the left side were obstructed by masking tape. The tape had been applied before washing and polishing of the aircraft prior to the accident flight.

Probable Cause:


It can be deduced from the investigation carried out that the maintenance staff did not remove the protective adhesive tape from the static ports. This tape was not detected during the various phases of the aircraft's release to the line mechanic, its transfer to the passenger boarding apron and, lastly, the inspection by the crew responsible for the flight (the walk-around or pre-flight check), which was carried out by the pilot-in-command, [name], according to the mechanic responsible for the aircraft on the day of the accident.

The pilot-in-command, Mr [name], made a personal error by not complying with the procedure for GPWS alarms and not noticing the readings of the radio altimeters in order to discard everything which he believed to be fictitious.

The co-pilot, Mr [name], made a personal error by not being more insistent, assertive and convincing in alerting the pilot-in-command much more emphatically to the ground proximity alarms.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: DGAT Peru
Status: Investigation completed
Accident number: final report
Download report: Final report


Pitot head issues
Loss of control

» SKYbrary 
» Aviation Week & Space Technology 2.12.96 (33)
» Aviation Week & Space Technology 7 October 1996 (21-22)
» Flight International 9-15 October 1996 (8)
» NTSB Safety Recommendation A-96-141
» Scramble 210

Follow-up / safety actions

DGAT Peru issued 34 Safety Recommendations
NTSB issued 1 Safety Recommendation

Show all...


photo of Boeing-757-23A-N52AW
photo of Boeing-757-23A-N52AW
accident date: 02-10-1996
type: Boeing 757-23A
registration: N52AW
photo of Boeing-757-23A-N52AW
accident date: 02-10-1996
type: Boeing 757-23A
registration: N52AW

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 Lima-Jorge Chávez International Airport to Santiago-Arturo Merino Benitez Airport as the crow flies is 2452 km (1532 miles).
Accident location: Exact; as reported in the official accident report.

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 757

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  • 4th loss
  • 4th fatal accident
  • 3rd worst accident (at the time)
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