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ASN statement on media reports about rediscovery of “missing” DC-3 in Chile
9 February 2015

Recent media reports claim that a group of Chilean mountaineers found the wreckage of a Chilean Douglas DC-3 that went ‘missing without a trace’ in 1961. Based on information from the ASN database, the wreckage was rediscovered as it was already found seven days after it went missing.

On April 3, 1961, a Douglas DC-3 of LAN Chile operated Flight 210 from Castro/Chiloe to Puerto Montt,  Temuco and Santiago. The flight departed Temuco in IFR conditions on the last leg of the flight, carrying 20 passengers and a crew of four.

The aircraft was to follow Airway 45 or 40 south at an altitude of 8500 feet. Estimated flying time was 2 hours and 30 minutes. One hour and fifteen minutes after takeoff the crew requested clearance to descend to a lower altitude due to icing conditions. Santiago Control didn’t authorize the descent because of conflicting traffic (LAN flight 205) on Airway 4. Santiago later cleared the flight to turn back on Airway 45 and then descend to 6500 feet on the same Airway, pass over Curico and to continue on Airway 40 south at the Santo Domingo beacon. There was no more radio contact with the flight. The wreckage was found on April 10 on La Gotera Hill.

An investigation concluded:  “The aircraft crashed on La Gotera Hill in the Lastima-Pejerreymin Range. From the wreckage’s position it was determined that the flight was on a south-west heading, although owing to the aircraft’s being entirely destroyed and burnt out it was not possible to state its speed or altitude, or whether the left engine had failed. At impact it appeared that the right engine was functioning normally. It was not possible to determine the cause of the accident from the navigation instruments or the wreckage.”