LANSA Flight 508 was a Lockheed L-188A Electra turboprop operated as a scheduled domestic passenger flight by Lineas Aéreas Nacionales Sociedad Anonima (LANSA, a Peruvian airline company) which crashed in a thunderstorm en route from Lima to Pucallpa in Peru on 24 December 1971, killing 91 people — all six of its crew and 85 of its 86 passengers.[1] It is the deadliest lightning strike disaster in aviation history.[2]

LANSA Flight 508
A LANSA Lockheed L-188 Electra similar to the accident aircraft
Date24 December 1971 (1971-12-24)
SummaryCrashed following midair break-up in thunderstorm
SitePuerto Inca, Peru
Aircraft typeLockheed L-188A Electra
OperatorLíneas Aéreas Nacionales S.A.
Flight originJorge Chávez International Airport, Lima, Peru
StopoverCaptain Rolden International Airport, Pucallpa
DestinationCoronel FAP Francisco Secada Vignetta International Airport, Iquitos, Peru

The sole survivor was 17-year-old Juliane Koepcke, who while strapped to her seat fell 3,000 m (10,000 ft) into the Amazon rainforest.[3] She survived the fall and was then able to walk through the jungle for eleven days until being rescued by local fishermen.[4][5] The Electra was LANSA's last aircraft; the company lost its operating permit eleven days later.[6]

Approximate flight path of OB-R-941

Crash edit

LANSA Flight 508 departed Lima's Jorge Chávez International Airport just before noon on Christmas Eve on its way to Iquitos, Peru, with a scheduled stop at Pucallpa. The aircraft was flying at about 6,400 metres (21,000 ft) above mean sea level when it encountered an area of thunderstorms and severe turbulence. Some evidence showed the crew decided to continue the flight despite the hazardous weather ahead, apparently because of pressure to meet the holiday schedule.[7][8] Peruvian investigators cited "intentional flight into hazardous weather conditions" as a cause of the crash.[7]

Victims and sole survivor edit

The sole survivor was 17-year-old Juliane Koepcke. Despite a broken collarbone, a deep gash to her right arm, an eye injury, and concussion, she was able to trek through the dense Amazon jungle for 10 days and found shelter in a hut. Local fishermen found her and took her by canoe back to civilization.[9] As many as 14 other passengers were also later found to have survived the initial crash, but died awaiting rescue.[8][10][better source needed]

In popular culture edit

The movie Miracles Still Happen (1974) is based on the story.[11] Koepcke's story was also told in the documentary film Wings of Hope (1998) by director Werner Herzog, who had narrowly avoided taking the same flight, when his reservation had been canceled due to a last minute change in itinerary.[12][13] Koepcke's memoir Als ich vom Himmel fiel was published by the German publisher Piper Malik on March 10, 2011.[14] (The English edition, titled When I Fell From the Sky, was published by Titletown Publishing in November 2011.)

The crash also features in the final season-one episode of the Discovery Channel documentary Aircrash Confidential. The episode was first aired in 2011, and features an interview with Koepcke.[15]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network
  2. ^ "Worst lightning strike disaster – death toll". Guinness World Records.
  3. ^ Franz Lidz (June 22, 2021). "Life After the Fall". The New York Times. p. D1.
  4. ^ "Plane Crash Accident Record". Archived from the original on 2018-11-17. Retrieved 2019-04-07.
  5. ^ Pleitgen, Frederik (2 July 2009). "Survivor still haunted by 1971 air crash". CNN. Archived from the original on 25 February 2018. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
  6. ^ World Airlines Flight International, p. S31, 18 May 1972
  7. ^ a b "Accident Database: Accident Synopsis 12241971®=OB-R-941". Archived from the original on 2007-03-10.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  8. ^ a b "Super70's Article". Archived from the original on 2017-05-08. Retrieved 2006-10-09.
  9. ^ Koepcke, Juliane (2011). When I Fell From the Sky (1st English ed.). Green Bay, WI: TitleTown Publishing. p. 67. ISBN 978-0-9837547-0-1.
  10. ^ "The Incredible Survival Story Of Juliane Koepcke And LANSA Flight 508". Simple Flying. 2022-05-06. Retrieved 2023-08-12.
  11. ^ "Miracles Still Happen (IMDb Record)". IMDb. Retrieved 2016-04-13.
  12. ^ Herzog, Werner (2001). Herzog on Herzog. Faber and Faber. ISBN 0-571-20708-1.
  13. ^ "Wings of Hope (IMDb Record)". IMDb. Retrieved 2006-10-09.
  14. ^ "Als ich vom Himmel fiel".
  15. ^ Barrett, Mathew; Griffiths, Alan; McNab, David; et al. (2011). Prince, Stephen; Gilbert, Roy (eds.). Aircrash Confidential (TV Documentary) (Extreme Weather ed.). Discovery Channel: MMXI World Media Rights Limited; WMR Productions; IMG Entertainment.

External links edit