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Last updated: 4 June 2020
Date:Thursday 2 May 1974
Time:ca 19:30
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC3 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas C-47 (DC-3)
Operator:ATESA (Aerotaxis Ecuatorianos SA)
Registration: HC-AUC
C/n / msn:
First flight:
Crew:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 18 / Occupants: 22
Total:Fatalities: 20 / Occupants: 25
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:7 km (4.4 mls) S of Banos (   Ecuador)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Pastaza Airport (PTZ/SESM), Ecuador
Destination airport:Ambato-Chachoan Airport (ATF/SEAM), Ecuador
The aircraft departed Pastaza at 19:13 and climbed to an altitude of FL115. The crew continued over the Banos canyon at FL115, the minimum safety altitude being FL125. The left wing of the aircraft struck the side of the Tungurahua Volcano, shrouded by a low layer of stratus clouds, and separated. The aircraft crashed out of control and was found the following day at 11200 feet.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: Failure to climb to the minimum safety altitude; failure to maintain a 275deg heading from Rio Negro to Banos; overconfidence of the pilot-in-command; possible distraction of the flight crew due to the presence of a tourist guide in the cockpit.


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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 Pastaza Airport to Ambato-Chachoan Airport as the crow flies is 65 km (41 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

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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Douglas DC-3

  • ca 13.000 built
  • 4142nd loss
  • 1591st fatal accident
  • 207th worst accident (at the time)
  • 224th worst accident (currently)
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  • 5th worst accident (at the time)
  • 17th worst accident (currently)
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