Jamake1
Topic Author
Posts: 800
Joined: Mon May 17, 2004 2:30 pm

1985 Crash Of Eastern Airlines In La Paz, Bolivia

Mon Aug 21, 2006 9:46 am

The other day, as I was listing a collection of Eastern Airlines items on eBay, it got me thinking about Eastern's last major fatal accident. On January 1, 1985, flight 985 from Asuncion, Paraguay to La Paz, Bolivia, crashed as it was nearing its approach at La Paz. The Boeing 727-200 slammed into a mountain and all passengers and crew were killed. I believe that there were 29 people onboard the aircraft.

At the time, there was not a lot of media coverage regarding this accident. So I am wondering if you fellow A. Netters have any additional information. I am curious to know if the wreckage and human remains were ever recovered. I do recall that it took rescuers nearly 20 hours to locate the wreckage, but I am curious to know if it was ever recovered and if there was ever any footage from this accident. Thanks to any of you who can provide that information. I am just curious...
United's B747-400. "She's a a cruel lover."
 
charlienorth
Posts: 1051
Joined: Sat Jun 10, 2006 6:24 am

RE: 1985 Crash Of Eastern Airlines In La Paz, Bolivia

Mon Aug 21, 2006 10:02 am

I remember reading no human remains were found and only small pieces wreckage was photographed,I do recall a pic of a cockpit crewmembers seat in the snow,the harnesses torn,quite chilling.
Work hard fly right..don't understand it
 
cedarjet
Posts: 8101
Joined: Mon May 24, 1999 1:12 am

RE: 1985 Crash Of Eastern Airlines In La Paz, Bolivia

Mon Aug 21, 2006 10:20 am

Quoting Charlienorth (Reply 1):
I remember reading no human remains were found and only small pieces wreckage

In fact most of the bodies were spotted, however the crash site is something like 17,000 feet above sea level, the simple fact is people can't get to it without oxygen, so the wreck and the bodies remain to this day. There are stories in the high altitude villages below the crash scene of villagers getting to the crash site, and some items from the aircraft do show up in circulation.

Remember how high some S American ops are - there are a few cities in S America, La Paz among them I think - where the cockpit crew have to wear oxygen masks from before start-up til after takeoff when the cabin pressurises, because without supplemental oxygen, symptoms of hypoxia will occur and mistakes made. A Braniff DC8 crew did the start-up and taxi without O2 masks on and in the process miscalculated all the takeoff speeds. They just about got off, but flew for nearly a minute only 20 feet up, basically hovering in ground effect, before attaining a safe flying speed.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
SJUSXM
Posts: 261
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:52 pm

RE: 1985 Crash Of Eastern Airlines In La Paz, Bolivia

Mon Aug 21, 2006 12:28 pm

WOW! only 29 people on the flight. Lucky the flight wasn't full or it could have been a whole lot worse.
AT7, ER3, ER4, ER5, CR7, E70, E75, F100, M82, M83, 722, 732, 738, 752, 762, 763, AB6, 320, 321, 772, 77W
 
MarkATL
Posts: 486
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2004 10:07 am

RE: 1985 Crash Of Eastern Airlines In La Paz, Bolivia

Mon Aug 21, 2006 1:15 pm

Quoting SJUSXM (Reply 3):
WOW! only 29 people on the flight. Lucky the flight wasn't full or it could have been a whole lot worse.

You think?
"...left my home in Georgia, 'n headed for the "Frisco" Bay...
 
broke
Posts: 1299
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2002 8:04 pm

RE: 1985 Crash Of Eastern Airlines In La Paz, Bolivia

Mon Aug 21, 2006 11:13 pm

The flight was going from Ascension, Paraguay to La Paz, Bolivia. There is a restriction on the altitude until you are within a certain distance of La Paz. The flight was off to one side of the airway and started its descent early.

When Eastern began flying to South America in 1982, if followed a Lufthansa practice of requiring new crew members to ride the jump seat into the high altitude airports such as Bogota, Quito, and La Paz for a couple of flights. Following this, a check airman would ride the jumpseat while the new crew member flew his or hers first flights into these airports.

Eastern stopped this practice in 1985 and this captain was making his first night approach into La Pax. He had made a day light arrival and departure into La Paz the day before.

Due to the weather conditions on Mt. Illimani, after the plane was found, it was impossible to reach the wreckage. Some years later a mountain climbing team reached the site and brought back some bits and pieces, but no human remains. Mt Illimani reaches to about 21,000' (6800 meters?).

The wife of the American Ambassador to Paraguay was one of the fatalities.
 
MEA-707
Posts: 3661
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 1999 4:51 am

RE: 1985 Crash Of Eastern Airlines In La Paz, Bolivia

Tue Aug 22, 2006 2:39 am

Quoting MarkATL (Reply 4):
Quoting SJUSXM (Reply 3):
WOW! only 29 people on the flight. Lucky the flight wasn't full or it could have been a whole lot worse.

You think?

It is indeed phrased a bit insensitive for the surviving families and friends of these 29, but he has a point, it could have been 160 on board as well.
nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
 
atnight
Posts: 537
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2005 8:06 am

RE: 1985 Crash Of Eastern Airlines In La Paz, Bolivia

Tue Aug 22, 2006 4:36 am

Quoting Cedarjet (Reply 2):
Remember how high some S American ops are - there are a few cities in S America, La Paz among them I think - where the cockpit crew have to wear oxygen masks from before start-up til after takeoff when the cabin pressurises, because without supplemental oxygen, symptoms of hypoxia will occur and mistakes made. A Braniff DC8 crew did the start-up and taxi without O2 masks on and in the process miscalculated all the takeoff speeds. They just about got off, but flew for nearly a minute only 20 feet up, basically hovering in ground effect, before attaining a safe flying speed.

Which airports exactly do pilots need to use O2 masks? Is that necessary for all aircrafts? I personally have not heard of such a thing, but I am interesting in knowing.. Also, the story you told about the aircraft hovering at 20 feet in the air sounds quite a sight, I suppose is possible but almost impossible to accomplish no? Wouldn't they hit a tree or something else?...
B707 B727 B733/5/7/8/9 B742/4 B752/3 B763/4 B772 A310 A318/319/320 A332 A343 MD80 DC9/10 CRJ200 ERJ145 ERJ-170 Be1900 Da
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: 1985 Crash Of Eastern Airlines In La Paz, Bolivia

Tue Aug 22, 2006 4:43 am

Quoting Atnight (Reply 7):
Also, the story you told about the aircraft hovering at 20 feet in the air sounds quite a sight, I suppose is possible but almost impossible to accomplish no? Wouldn't they hit a tree or something else?...

For some reason, I seem to recall that being mentioned in John Nance's book on the demise of Braniff (v1.0), "A Splash of Colors" IIRC....
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
PDPsol
Posts: 1109
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2004 5:09 am

RE: 1985 Crash Of Eastern Airlines In La Paz, Bolivia

Tue Aug 22, 2006 5:58 am

I was a child living in La Paz at the time of the accident and was on holiday with my family in Punta del Este when we heard about it. Quite dreadful as we would fly in-and-out of LPB all the time and depended on EA to take us back to the States.

The LB pilots were known as high-altitude experts and the 727 was the equipment of choice for LPB.
 
ImperialEagle
Posts: 2238
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2006 10:53 am

RE: 1985 Crash Of Eastern Airlines In La Paz, Bolivia

Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:05 am

Quoting Pdpsol (Reply 9):
727 was the equipment of choice for LPB.

As it was for most South American operators back in the day. No doubt, in part, due to the Boeing sales guys and the "death in the Andes" sales ploy rumored to exsist should one happen to buy ( twin engined and thus "underpowered"and with early models "slat-less") DC-9's instead!

Of course everyone denied it, but it was a pretty shrewd rumor and certainly worked!

A retired EA captain I know recounts stories of seeing the reflections of the sun off of the wreckage when going into LPB. Sad.
"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough!"
 
dtwclipper
Posts: 6668
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2003 3:17 am

RE: 1985 Crash Of Eastern Airlines In La Paz, Bolivia

Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:14 am

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 8):
For some reason, I seem to recall that being mentioned in John Nance's book on the demise of Braniff (v1.0), "A Splash of Colors" IIRC

It is, on Page 74.
Compare New York Air, the Airline that works for your Business
 
cedarjet
Posts: 8101
Joined: Mon May 24, 1999 1:12 am

RE: 1985 Crash Of Eastern Airlines In La Paz, Bolivia

Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:26 am

Quoting Atnight (Reply 7):
Which airports exactly do pilots need to use O2 masks?

Don't know if it's still done, unless pilots have grown an extra lung in the last 20 years, I presume so. All airports above a certain altitude, I guess. There are plenty above 8,000 feet, which is high enough for most people who live at or near sea level to start having problems.

Quoting Atnight (Reply 7):
the story you told about the aircraft hovering at 20 feet in the air sounds quite a sight, I suppose is possible but almost impossible to accomplish no? Wouldn't they hit a tree or something else?...

Probably impossible to recreate on purpose, but the story goes that they went tearing out over open countryside kicking up a giant dust trail. I think they lifted off 30 knots too early or something, it wasn't a little mistake. And probably the ground dropped away. Dan Air had a similar event at Luton on a 727, nothing to do with lack of O2 but somehow the weights and speeds were ballsed up and they basically did a carrier takeoff, rolling past the end of the runway, demolish the ILS then off the "cliff" and straight into a descent down the valley til they accelerated enough to start climbing. All good fun.

Quoting ImperialEagle (Reply 10):
727 was the equipment of choice for LPB. As it was for most South American operators back in the day.

Still is matey.

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Robert Domandl
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Ander Aguirre - AirTeamImages



View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Robert Domandl
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © David Larenas Herdoiza

fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
flight7e7
Posts: 96
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2005 7:26 pm

RE: 1985 Crash Of Eastern Airlines In La Paz, Bolivia

Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:27 am

This brings to mind...Does anyone recall the AA 757 wreck in Colombia on or about Dec 20, 1995?
That was determined as pilot error, wrong settings into the computer....but what about recovery? Don't remember the whole story, but do remember someone I knew who worked at AA went on a mercy mission to help the families at Christmas time.....and he said that the 727 they were in circled over the wreckage and a moment of silence was called for the memory of crew and pax .....he could see christmas presents strewn about, and how people were just brought to tears...and that this horrible crash site was, as well, nearly impossible to reach due to mudslides and low cloud cover not permitting a proper recovery.

Any information contrary to my poor recall, or did this end in the same tragic way EAL did in LaPaz, no chance of recovery?

Thanks,

F7E7
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: 1985 Crash Of Eastern Airlines In La Paz, Bolivia

Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:41 am

Quoting Cedarjet (Reply 12):
Still is matey.

I wonder what variant of the JT8D those 727-100s and older 727-200s (Basics?) had in them?

Braniff ran the 727-200 ADVanced down there with -17R engines, the "R" indicative of the other two engines being able to provide a certain amount of "reserve" thrust in the event of one engine failing. I don't recall how much thrust the other two made up for, but down there in SA, I guess anything is better than nothing.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
cedarjet
Posts: 8101
Joined: Mon May 24, 1999 1:12 am

RE: 1985 Crash Of Eastern Airlines In La Paz, Bolivia

Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:45 am

Quoting Flight7E7 (Reply 13):
the AA 757 wreck in Colombia...nearly impossible to reach due to mudslides and low cloud cover not permitting a proper recovery.

The wreckage was relatively easy to reach, and at a manageable altitude, and not much in the way of mudslides and low visibility; but the area of the crash was under FARC control so rescue teams were accompanied by army units in case of guerilla activity.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
charlienorth
Posts: 1051
Joined: Sat Jun 10, 2006 6:24 am

RE: 1985 Crash Of Eastern Airlines In La Paz, Bolivia

Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:50 am

The AA 757 was recovered,but much of it was looted,also because of the relatively "low speed flat "impact,much of the avionics and other components were intact and around that time a friend of mine was a mx controller at NWA and they had a list of part #'s and serial #'s of items not recovered and to be on a lookout as they may have been removed from the site and sold.
Work hard fly right..don't understand it
 
DeC
Posts: 535
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2005 5:12 am

RE: 1985 Crash Of Eastern Airlines In La Paz, Bolivia

Tue Aug 22, 2006 8:06 am

on the 757 crash:

Yeah, that was really terrible!

" The left turn brought the B757 over mountainous terrain, so a Ground Proximity (GPWS) warning sounded. With increased engine power and nose-up the crew tried to climb. The spoilers were still activated however."

"2. The flight crew's execution of the GPWS escape manoeuvre while the speed brakes remained deployed; "

http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19951220-1&lang=en
DEC
 
Jamake1
Topic Author
Posts: 800
Joined: Mon May 17, 2004 2:30 pm

RE: 1985 Crash Of Eastern Airlines In La Paz, Bolivia

Tue Aug 22, 2006 9:29 am

Here's a link to a photo of the wreckage of AA flight 965.

http://www.airdisaster.com/photos/aa965/photo.shtml
United's B747-400. "She's a a cruel lover."
 
jimbobjoe
Posts: 450
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2001 2:04 pm

RE: 1985 Crash Of Eastern Airlines In La Paz, Bolivia

Tue Aug 22, 2006 12:42 pm

Quoting DeC (Reply 17):
The spoilers were still activated however."

This reminds me of a question I've been meaning to ask. Would a newer aircraft (like a 777, 737NG, A3xx) have figured out "dude...you've got the spoilers down, full throttle and a pull up warning. Maybe I should just raise the spoilers for you?"
 
DeC
Posts: 535
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2005 5:12 am

RE: 1985 Crash Of Eastern Airlines In La Paz, Bolivia

Tue Aug 22, 2006 1:25 pm

Quoting Jimbobjoe (Reply 19):
This reminds me of a question I've been meaning to ask. Would a newer aircraft (like a 777, 737NG, A3xx) have figured out "dude...you've got the spoilers down, full throttle and a pull up warning. Maybe I should just raise the spoilers for you?"

I highly doubt something like this is possible. It’s very logical but like "you’re going down too fast and I have no mechanical or hydraulic problem or anything so ease back, let me pull up and avoid the collision instead of shouting ‘pull up’ ‘pull up’ in your ears" but hey, if this would be able, a series of catastrophic pilot actions here and there would be avoided by the very plane which ultimately –would be flying itself.
DEC
 
Jamake1
Topic Author
Posts: 800
Joined: Mon May 17, 2004 2:30 pm

RE: 1985 Crash Of Eastern Airlines In La Paz, Bolivia

Tue Aug 22, 2006 1:36 pm

Getting back to the subject of the Eastern crash, does anyone know if the black boxes were ever recovered?
United's B747-400. "She's a a cruel lover."