1986 Aerovías Guatemala air crash

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1986 Aerovías Guatemala crash
SAETA Caravelle Volpati.jpg
HC-BAE, the aircraft involved, seen in November 1982
Date18 January 1986
SummaryControlled flight into terrain; cause undetermined
SiteFlores, Guatemala
Aircraft typeSud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle III
Flight originLa Aurora International Airport, Guatemala City, Guatemala
DestinationSanta Elena Airport, Flores, Guatemala

The 1986 Aerovías Guatemala air crash occurred on 18 January 1986 and involved a Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle III that crashed into a hill on approach to Santa Elena Airport, Flores, Guatemala after a short flight from Guatemala City's La Aurora International Airport. All 93 passengers and crew on board were killed,[1] making it the worst air disaster in Guatemalan history.


The aircraft involved was a Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle III built in 1960. It was converted to a series 6N standard in 1962. SAETA purchased the aircraft in 1975. Aerovías in Guatemala leased it from SAETA in 1985 in response to the increasing number of tourists visiting Guatemala.[2]


This 40-minute flight was taking Guatemalan and foreign tourists from Guatemala City to Santa Elena Airport, in Flores, some 170 miles (274 km) northeast of Guatemala City. Flores is a common staging point for visits to the ancient Maya city of Tikal. The aircraft took off on Saturday morning at 7:25 local time from La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City with 87 passengers and 6 crew on board.[2] After approximately 30 minutes the aircraft was cleared to land at Santa Elena Airport.[1] However the first approach was too high and the aircraft overshot the runway.[3] On its second approach the aircraft crashed and caught fire about 8 km from the airport. The control tower's last contact with the crew occurred at 7:58, 33 minutes into the 40-minute flight, with no reports of any anomalies.[3] The accident killed all 93 people on board: 87 passengers and 6 crew members.[1][2] The aircraft was completely destroyed in the accident.[1]



An investigation carried out into the crash was unable to determine the exact cause of the accident.[2] Low cloud cover may have caused the pilots to lose orientation and crash.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d "Guatemala crash toll now put at 93". The New York Times. 20 January 1986. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d "Aerovias HC-BAE – 18. January 1986". sudaviation.com. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  3. ^ a b "90 Killed in Guatemala Plane Crash : Cause Not Known; Six Americans Included in Toll". Los Angeles Times. 19 January 1986.
  4. ^ googleearth
  5. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle III HC-BAE". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 1 October 2013.