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If you look at the 10/2004 Googleearth imagery (less shadows and snow) there might be something here:  16°15'40.62"S  68° 9'31.26"W

Like a big piece stuck in a crag.

Probably nothing . . .

If he lined up 90 degrees to approach the runway at La Paz he might’ve hit that spine, into the deep part to the left.  You think he would’ve seen that 18,000’ peak just west of Huayna Potosi.  Mustve been completely socked in.

I know the glacier movement and snowfall will change the topography but I’m having trouble lining up that photo from the MAC Flyer.   I switched Googleearth to the 1969 imagery too.

Unless it was taken lower down on the ascent.

I don’t think that is any wreckage in the magazine photo, probably rock outcroppings.  The articles say the aircraft penetrated the glacier and disappeared.

The “Normal Route” up comes up from the SSE to climb it. 

Chris Baird

Attached Images
Click image for larger version - Name: C141.jpg, Views: 43, Size: 125.32 KB  Click image for larger version - Name: Summit from west spine.jpg, Views: 42, Size: 175.83 KB  Click image for larger version - Name: looking up at south peak.jpg, Views: 46, Size: 140.40 KB  Click image for larger version - Name: West Face.jpg, Views: 46, Size: 304.56 KB 


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Posts: 2,596
several people agree that the photo in the magazine just shows climbers climbing up the mountain and NO wreckage. The accident report has been ordered via FOIA by a family member. Hopefully more info in it. 

Posts: 4
Sorry to have taken this long to get back. I do have some time now to search for the wreckage. I read the report and article but exactly what happened is still unclear to me. I understand that the C-141 slammed into the West face at 18,700 feet. It then fell to a 20,000 ft plateau. I doubt it fell up the mountain. I also don't see anything I would call a plateau on the west side. 

Am I up to speed?

In any event, I need to narrow the search area. I have been operating on the assumption that the plane was in the glacier at the base of the cliff. From reading the posts it seems some believe it may still be on the cliff. What is the reasoning?


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From the reports that I have read, the C-141 did impact at the 18,700 level, which was covered in snow and ice at the time. Wreckage must have traveled downhill from there. Some reports say some wreckage ended up on a plateau below the 18,700 level. 
Nobody really knows exactly where the impact point is or where the plateau is below it. 
Just the make it more confusing- looking at the approach into the airport, the plane should have been coming from the north going south into the airport. The plane should have impacted the north face of the mountain instead of the west. 

I'm still have not obtained a copy of the official accident report, although one is on order via FOIA

Hopefully, someone will spot some wreckage on the mountain via Google Earth or some climber will find some wreckage and report it. 

This is a difficult case I understand. 

Posts: 4
Thanks Dave,

It looks like I am up to speed. I wondered why a plane from SC would be approaching La Paz on a rout west of the Andes. I will give it a go but it would be a lot easier if I had some idea where the wreckage might be. I did check the prominence Chris spotted at 16°15'40.62"S  68° 9'31.26"W. There is no metal so it is just some natural feature.


Posts: 1
Hi Dave,

My name is Mike Crowley USAF (Ret). During the time of the Class A mishap in Bolivia I was a 1Lt line navigator assigned to the 41st MAS Charleston AFB.

I was acquainted with most of the crew on 50274 on that mission. That particular mission was operated by the 20th Sq. I am very familiar with that particular mission because I was on the unamended original orders to fly as the navigator. The reason I say 'unamended' is because just minutes prior to meeting the crew bus for pick-up Capt. Burroughs (A Navigator assigned to the 20th Sq.) handed me a copy of a set of 'amended' orders assigning him as the nav on the mission. He was a Wing Ops type and I was a junior officer assigned to a sister squadron. No hope for me to keep the mission. I handed him whatever I had done in the way of flight planning as I recall and picked up my bags and hitched a ride home.

I often wonder if things would have turned out the same had I been navigating the mission. I suppose one always relives a 'that could have been me' event. 

I looked at recent pictures of the crash site and there is nothing to be seen. As I recall there was one picture in particular that stood out in my mind. It was evidently taken by a helicopter shortly after the crash. Most of us are familiar with the roadrunner cartoons I am assuming. Picture the silhouette of an aircraft in your mind if it were to fly through a piece of paper nose first. The picture of the impact site looked like that. The snow in the hole was black and it was obvious that smoke had been present due to the blackened snow just above the hole. No part of the aircraft was visible. I don't recall seeing a picture of any debris. Something over the years that I found a bit odd is the fact that I could see no indication that the T-tail had hit the glacier. The T-tail on a C-141 rides considerably higher above the fuselage. You would expect it to have made a separate impact at or near the major impact point. I have been unable to locate any of the pictures taken by the helo in the intervening years.

I'm afraid that is about all of the information I have on the mission.

Good luck in your endeavors.

Mike Crowley - miketcrowley99@yahoo.com


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Posts: 220
  Mike: Thanks for sharing your story with us.  Its always kind of profound when a topic like this is being discussed and through the magic of the internet someone who was actually part of the mishap ( Like you in this case ) stumbles across the thread and shares their recollection of the events.


Posts: 4

Hi Mike, 

Thanks for posting your knowledge of the crash. We are slowly putting the story together but there is still a lot we do not know. I am trying to locate the wreckage using hyper-spectral images but I really have no idea where the plane hit the mountain. Those photos you reference would certainly help. Dave has a request in for the complete crash report but nothing has come in yet. 

From memory of those photos do you have an idea or estimation of the impact point? 

One more question. It seems the plane should have hit the mountain on the N/NE side. However reports say it hit the West side. Since you were a navigator scheduled for this flight, and perhaps made the same flight on other occasions, can you shed some light on this mystery? 


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