More than 100 people - 70 of them children - were killed when a United States Boeing 707 cargo plane crashed in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz on Wednesday (13 October).
More than 100 people - 70 of them children - were killed when a United States Boeing 707 cargo plane crashed in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz on Wednesday (13 October). Santa Cruz is 300 miles (500 kilometres) from the capital, La Paz.
SYNOPSIS: The accident was the world's worst air disaster involving people on the ground. The plane was returning to Miami after delivering a cargo of livestock to Santa Cruz. Eyewitnesses said one of he Boeing's engines seemed to catch fire as it was climbing after takeoff. Then it plummeted to the ground, careering along a busy street, setting fire to a school, some houses and a kerosene supply store. Pieces of wreckage fell across a swimming pool and a football pitch. As it skidded along in a huge ball of fire, victims were enveloped in flames. Mothers and children queuing outside the kerosene store were incinerated. The crew members were trapped in the blazing wreckage. It's known that three of them were Americans.
Hundreds more people were injured. Some were so badly burnt they had to be flown to Buenos Aires in Argentina on Friday (15 October) where medical facilities are better than those in Bolivia. All hospitals and aid stations in the city were on emergency alert to deal with the victims as they poured in for treatment.
The crash victims were met at Buenos Aires airport by a team of nurses and doctors. They were then whisked away to hospital by waiting ambulances. For many it could mean many months of treatment. For others it could also mean plastic surgery.
The worst previous such crash was in march 1969 when a Venezuelan DC-9 killed at least 65 people on the ground when it ploughed into village shortly after take off from Maracaibo.