West Caribbean Airways Flight 708

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West Caribbean Airways Flight 708 was a charter flight that suffered an accident in the Sierra de Perijá, in the State of Zulia in Venezuela in the early hours of Tuesday, August 16, 2005, killing all 152 passengers and eight crew members. The plane, a McDonnell Douglas MD-82 with registration HK-4374X, was flying the Panama City-Martinique route.[1]

West Caribbean Airways Flight 708
McDonnell Douglas MD-82 (HK-4374X).jpg
HK-4374X, the aircraft involved, photographed in July 2005, 1 month before disaster
Date16 August 2005 (2005-08-16)
SummaryDeep stall due to pilot error, a lack of crew resource management, and loss of situational awareness
SiteMachiques, Venezuela
9°39′59″N 72°36′40″W / 9.66639°N 72.61111°W / 9.66639; -72.61111Coordinates: 9°39′59″N 72°36′40″W / 9.66639°N 72.61111°W / 9.66639; -72.61111
Aircraft typeMcDonnell Douglas MD-82
OperatorWest Caribbean Airways (chartered by the Globe Trotters de Rivière Salée travel agency)
IATA flight No.YH708
ICAO flight No.WCW708
Call signWEST 708
Flight originTocumen International Airport, Panama
DestinationMartinique Aimé Césaire Int'l Airport, Martinique

Other accidents[change | change source]

August 2005 was a dark month for commercial aviation. It also included the tragedies of Helios Airways Flight 522 and TANS Peru Flight 204, among others.

It was the most serious air disaster of 2005.[2][3][4][5][6]

Airline[change | change source]

The Airline started a charter service in 1998. It specialized in flights to San Andrés in the Caribbean, and various areas of Colombia and Central America. West Carribean lost a turboprop Let L-410 Turbolet in March 2005 taking off from the Colombian island of Providencia in an accident in which 8 people were killed and 6 injured.

In addition to the damaged MD-82, the airline's fleet included two McDonnell Douglas MD-81s, three Aérospatiale ATR 42s, and six Let L-410 Turbolets.

Crew[change | change source]

The captain of flight 708, Omar Ospina, 40, and the 21-year-old first officer, David Muñoz. The captain had 5,942 hours of experience, and the co-pilot 1,341 hours.

Accident[change | change source]

While flying at 33,000 feet, the aircraft's speed decreased until it stalled. The crew, probably under the mistaken belief that the aircraft had suffered a double engine failure, did not take the necessary measures to recover from the loss of lift. After falling about 7,000 feet per minute with the engines at rest, the plane crashed in to mountains of northwestern Venezuela, in a cattle ranch near Machiques in the western state of Zulia (about 30 kilometers from the border with Colombia).

References[change | change source]

  1. "Final report" (PDF) (in Spanish). Civil Aviation Accident Investigation Board. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2012-03-12. Retrieved 2019-06-13 – via Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety.
  2. Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident McDonnell Douglas DC-9-82 (MD-82) HK-4374X Machiques". aviation-safety.net. Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 2018-12-17.
  3. Ranter, Harro. "2005". aviation-safety.net. Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 2018-11-24.
  4. Ranter, Harro. "Venezuela air safety profile". aviation-safety.net. Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 2018-11-24.
  5. Ranter, Harro. "McDonnell Douglas MD-80". aviation-safety.net. Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 2019-04-18.
  6. "160 believed dead in Venezuela jet crash". CNN. 2005-08-16. Retrieved 2021-03-25.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

Other websites[change | change source]

External image
Photograph of aircraft at Airliners.net