Many people are fascinated by unsolved mysteries revolving accidents that happened without a clear cause. Such a case is the the crash of Flight 980. Even after three decades no one knew what had caused this plane crash and the case was considered closed. However, that was until today, because after another operation, new evidence were found that proved that the plane had a really dark secret.
20. A Promising Trip
In 1985, on New Year’s Day, Eastern Air Lines Flight 980 was about to take off from Paraguay in order to begin an international trip destined for Miami. The plane would also call at Bolivia and Ecuador in order to make a tour of South America. However, no one knew what had this trip in store for them. Click next to find out!
19. Everything Was Going Great
Everything started off really good with the 29 passengers enjoying the spare room that the large Boeing 727 airliner provided them with as Paraguay’s airport wasn’t used to much traffic. Click next to see how this contributed to the tragedy that followed!
18. Special Passengers
Nothing could ever warn the confident Captain Larry Campbell and his crew of five Chilean flight attendants off what would follow. Everyone was really happy to be part of this flight as the passengers were some really important people. Click next to find out who the passengers were. You will be amazed!
17. A Really Important Woman
Along with many other travelers from the United States, Paraguay, and South Korea, there was a really important woman in the plane that the crew had to make sure she was safe at all cost. That woman was Marian Davis, the wife of the U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay.
16. Arriving At Bolivia’s Airport
Everything was going really well and all the passengers were enjoying a relaxing trip. At 7:37 p.m. Flight 980 was about to arrive at Bolivia’s international airport in La Paz in order for the plane to refuel. However, landing a plane at this airport wasn’t an easy job!
15. Deadly Airport
Bolivia’s international airport is well known as the airport with the most dangerous air spaces due to its airstrip, which is 13,327 feet above sea level making it the high-test airstrip in the world. Moreover, the airport is surrounded by really high mountains that make landing extra hard and sometimes deadly…
14. Fearless Captain
Even though landing at the airport was really dangerous, Captain Larry Campbell and his crew didn’t seem to be frightened. So they plane started its descent. No one knew what would happen next.
13. The Crash
However, Flight 980 wasn’t meant to land. The plane crashed into the side of Mount Illimani and the airport immediately informed their Air Force. Every minute passing was crucial.
12. No Sign Of Life
Even though the Air Force team was well trained, the adverse and harsh weather conditions mad it really hard for them to continue their research at the mountain. So after some days the team returned to airport with no survivors.
11. Lack Of Evidence
The Air Force team didn’t manage to solve the mystery of this plane crash as both plane’s black boxes that contained the flight’s recorders were never found. So the case was considered closed. Until now…
10. Three Decades Later
After about three decades of the plane’s crash, two Boston hikers, Dan Futrell and Isaac Stoner which were really fascinated of unsolved mysteries around plane crashes decided to take matters into their hands.
9. “Operation Thonapa”
Of course such an operation needed a lot of training in order for Futrell and Stoner to explore the mountain. Finally, in 2016, the two hikers started their trip in order to solve the mystery around the Flight 980 naming their mission “Operation Thonapa”.
8. Thinking Out Of The Box
For their operation, the hikers decided to follow a different path from the one that the Air Force team had followed. Instead of going directly to the spot where the plane had crashed, they started searching the areas bellow.
7. A Different Path
So, with that in mind, the hikers searched about 3,000 feet below the area that the plane was found. No long after, one of the hikers made a discovery that will blow your mind!
6. A Great Discovery
Yes! It was one of the black boxes. They also found a magnetic tape that believed to contain the flight’s records. Unfortunately, both the the tape and the black box were severely damaged.
However, Futrell and Stoner didn’t lose hope. They continue searching around the area thinking of what would have caused the plane crash. One of their theories was that the control tower crew gave wrong instructions due to a hangover from New Year’s Eve.
4. Conspiracy Theory
The other theory was more of a conspiracy. According to the hikers the plane crash was caused because of illegal activities of the people travelling. However, that seemed a bit extraordinary, until they made an unexpected discovery.
3. Extraordinary Findings
They found some suitcases which contained dozens of poached crocodile skins and one of them even contained 2 million dollars! The owner of the suitcase seems to Enrique Matalón Sr., who was a high member of Mafia and the drug industry. He was travelling with his family on Flight 980 and the hikers believe that he had something to do with the crash.
2. Discouraging News
The only way to find the truth was from the black box or the tape. Unfortunately, what seemed to be the black box of the plane was in reality the rack that had fixed it onto the plane and the tape was just an episode of a Spanish series called “Spy”.
1. Still A Mystery
So the story behind the crash of Flight 980 still remains a mystery even though many have tried to find the truth. Hopefully one day, someone might reveal what actually happened to that plane. Until then, fly safe!