Accident description
Last updated: 17 April 2014
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
C/n / msn: 25489/505
First flight: 1992
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney PW2037
Crew:Fatalities: 9 / Occupants: 9
Passengers:Fatalities: 61 / Occupants: 61
Total:Fatalities: 70 / Occupants: 70
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:73 km (45.6 mls) NW off Lima, Peru (   Pacific Ocean) show on map
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Lima-Jorge Chavez International Airport (LIM/SPIM), Peru
Destination airport:Santiago-Arturo Merino Benitez Airport (SCL/SCEL), Chile
Flightnumber: 603
Flight 603 took off from Lima runway 15 at 12:42 am for a flight to Santiago. Five minutes after take-off the crew reported problems with their instruments and stated they wanted to return to the airport.
During the initial climb, the airspeed and altitude indications were too low. In calm winds, the windshear warning suddenly sounded. The aircraft climbed to FL130, before a return to Lima was initiated. While returning, the captain's airspeed and altitude indications were too high, causing an overspeed warning. At the same time, the co-pilot's airspeed indications were too low, triggering the stick shaker.
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 200 feet and crashed inverted. The captain's airspeed indicated 450 knots and altitude 9500 feet.
The aircraft had flown approx. 2630 cycles.
Preliminary 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.


» Aviation Week & Space Technology 2.12.96 (33)
» Aviation Week & Space Technology 7.10.96(21-22)
» Flight International 9-15.10.96(8)
» NTSB Safety Recommendation A-96-141
» Scramble 210

Follow-up / safety actions

NTSB issued 1 Safety Recommendation

Show all AD's and Safety Recommendations


photo of Boeing 757-23A N52AW
photo of Boeing 757-23A N52AW
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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 Lima-Jorge Chavez International Airport to Santiago-Arturo Merino Benitez Airport as the crow flies is 2452 km (1532 miles).

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Networkĺs 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

  • 4th loss
  • 1050 built
  • 3rd worst accident (at the time)
  • 4th worst accident (currently)
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 Pacific Ocean
  • 4th worst accident (at the time)
  • 5th worst accident (currently)
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