Date: November 9th, 1999
Report Date: -
This is not an accident investigation report.
All 18 people aboard a Mexican DC-9 jetliner Flight 725 were killed when it crashed shortly after takeoff in a mountainous region of central Mexico. The crash occurred "four miles south of Uruapan", the Transport Ministry said in a statement.
The plane, a 29-year-old twin-engine jet, was flying from Uruapan,
about 185 miles west of Mexico City, to the capital on a scheduled flight
operated by private Mexican airline Transportes Aereos Ejecutivos (Taesa).
Witnesses reported seeing a brilliant light in the sky and debris falling in the
mountains 10 kilometers (6 miles)
southwest of the town of Uruapan.
TAESA Flight 725 was carrying 13 passengers and five crew members
when it crashed about five minutes after taking off from Uruapan in the state
of Michoacan around 7 p.m. (8 p.m. EST) en route to Mexico City. The
crash site is about 180 miles west of Mexico City.
Inspector Juan Alfonso Lara of the Michoacan state civil protection agency
said that TAESA flight 725 apparently exploded in the air.
However, there were conflicting reports. One
witness, Felipe Guzman, said the plane was on
fire as it hit the ground on an avacado
plantation and then exploded. "After that, there
were other explosions," said Guzman, the plantation's caretaker.
Agustin Gutierrez, TAESA's state manager in Michoacan, said the plane
nosedived into the plantation after apparently having some kind of
TAESA spokesman Eduardo Cacho said at a news conference that the
cause of the accident is under investigation. The airline has no information
about whether the plane had any maintenance problems during the day or
about communications between the crew and the flight tower, Cacho said.
"We don't have definitive information and we don't want to speculate," he
The flight had originated in Tijuana with 91 passengers, went to Guadalajara
and then to Urupuan, with most of the passengers disembarking along the
Lara said rescue crews were in the area, but there was no chance of finding
survivors from the plane. "It was completely destroyed," he said.
At the airport in Mexico City, relatives of those who had been aboard the
plane hugged each other and tried to console each other.
TAESA was founded in 1988 as an air taxi and expanded to commercial
operations in 1991, using low cost fares to challenge established Mexican
Local residents told media they heard an explosion before the plane fell suddenly near
Uruapan. Televisa network said the plane was totally destroyed.
``A bang was heard, the engines broke and the plane nose-dived,'' Uruapan Red Cross
director Alejandro Moreno told Radio Formula.
``It was flight 725, carrying 13 passengers and five crew. Unfortunately they all died,''
Michoacan state press spokesman Ricardo Saldana told Reuters.
``The flight came from Tijuana, landed in Uruapan, unloaded passengers and took off en
route to Mexico City. A few minutes after taking off it dived into a somewhat inaccessible
area,'' Saldana said.
``Two minutes after (take off) it declared an emergency without giving the causes, (and) lost
contact,'' the Transport Ministry said in a statement.
Televisa network showed rescue workers probing among wreckage strewn over a radius of
300 yards in an avocado orchard in a wooded, mountainous zone.
``The plane fell and was totally destroyed,'' Televisa said. ''Unfortunately, body parts have
begun to be found.''
In Seattle, a spokeswoman for Boeing Co., Susan Davis, said that Mexican authorities had
requested that the company send a representative to help the investigation, which Boeing
The plane that crashed in Mexico on Tuesday was delivered in 1970 and had been through
several operators, before being operated for about the last year by Taesa, Davis said. It had
logged 58,000 flight hours on 59,000 flights.
Taesa's Cacho said he could give no cause for the accident, because the aircraft had
reported no mechanical problems before take off.
The accident could have been far worse, because the aircraft had originally taken off with 91
passengers in Tijuana, which borders San Diego, California. Most disembarked in the
western city of Guadalajara, then Uruapan.