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Last updated: 28 November 2021
Status:
Date:Friday 13 October 1972
Time:15:30
Type:Silhouette image of generic F27 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Fairchild FH-227D
Operator:Fuerza Aérea Uruguaya - FAU
Registration: T-571
MSN: 572
First flight: 1968
Total airframe hrs:792
Crew:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 5
Passengers:Fatalities: 24 / Occupants: 40
Total:Fatalities: 29 / Occupants: 45
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near El Tiburcio (   Argentina)
Crash site elevation: 3600 m (11811 feet) amsl
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Int'l Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Mendoza-El Plumerillo Airport, MD (MDZ/SAME), Argentina
Destination airport:Santiago-Pudahuel Airport (SCL/SCEL), Chile
Narrative:
Members of the amateur Old Christians Club rugby union team from Montevideo, Uruguay, were scheduled to play a match against the Old Boys Club, an English rugby team in Santiago, Chile. A Uruguayan Air Force Fairchild FH-227D was chartered to fly the team over the Andes mountain range to Santiago. The aircraft carried 40 passengers and 5 crew members. The passengers included 19 members of the team, along with their families, supporters, and friends.
The aircraft departed Montevideo Airport on 12 October 1972, but a storm front over the Andes forced them to stop overnight in Mendoza, Argentina.
The flight took off at 14:18 from Mendoza the next day. The pilot flew south from Mendoza towards Malargüe radiobeacon at FL180. The flight radioed the Malargüe Airport with their position and told them they would reach the Planchón Pass at 15:21. The plan was to cross the pass to the Curicó radiobeacon. From there the aircraft was to turn north and descend towards Santiago.
The flight crew mistakenly believed they had reached Curicó and began descending too early.
The aircraft struck a mountain, initially shearing off both wings and the tail section. The remaining portion of the fuselage slid down the mountain about 725 metres before striking ice and snow on a glacier.
Thirteen passengers died in the crash. In the following days survivors waited for a rescue party. However, on November 23 the search was being halted. In December a few survivors try to get help and on December 20 they finally met some Chileans. A rescue party was organised and the other survivors were airlifted from the wreckage on December 22-23. In the period between the accident and the rescue, 13 more occupants had died.

Classification:
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

Photos

photo of Fairchild-FH-227D-T-571
accident date: 13-10-1972
type: Fairchild FH-227D
registration: T-571
 

Books

Map
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 Mendoza-El Plumerillo Airport, MD to Santiago-Pudahuel Airport as the crow flies is 195 km (122 miles).
Accident location: Exact; deduced from 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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Fairchild FH-227

  • 78 built
  • 6th loss
  • 6th fatal accident
  • 4th worst accident (at the time)
  • 7th worst accident (currently)
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 Argentina
  • 7th worst accident (at the time)
  • 13th worst accident (currently)
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