SAETA Flight 232

SAETA Flight 232

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On 15 August, 1976, SAETA
SAETA was a privately held airline of Ecuador, which began operations in the 1960s and during its heyday in the 1990s flew to numerous destinations in North and South America from its base in Guayaquil...

 Flight 232
from Quito
San Francisco de Quito, most often called Quito , is the capital city of Ecuador in northwestern South America. It is located in north-central Ecuador in the Guayllabamba river basin, on the eastern slopes of Pichincha, an active stratovolcano in the Andes mountains...

, Ecuador
Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

 to Cuenca
Cuenca, Ecuador
Cuenca is the capital of the Azuay Province. It is located in the highlands of Ecuador at about 2500 m above sea level...

 with 55 passengers and four crew members aboard a Vickers Viscount
Vickers Viscount
The Vickers Viscount was a British medium-range turboprop airliner first flown in 1948 by Vickers-Armstrongs, making it the first such aircraft to enter service in the world...

 785D, was reported missing while in flight. It was not found for twenty-six years.

Searches of the possible crash area produced no results. A mid-route crash on the stratovolcano
A stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano, is a tall, conical volcano built up by many layers of hardened lava, tephra, pumice, and volcanic ash. Unlike shield volcanoes, stratovolcanoes are characterized by a steep profile and periodic, explosive eruptions...

Chimborazo (volcano)
Chimborazo is a currently inactive stratovolcano located in the Cordillera Occidental range of the Andes. Its last known eruption is believed to have occurred around 550 AD....

 was considered to be most probable, though some speculated a Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

n guerrilla hijacking
Aircraft hijacking
Aircraft hijacking is the unlawful seizure of an aircraft by an individual or a group. In most cases, the pilot is forced to fly according to the orders of the hijackers. Occasionally, however, the hijackers have flown the aircraft themselves, such as the September 11 attacks of 2001...

. On October 17, 2002 the aircraft and the bodies of all its 59 occupants were found by Ecuadorian climbers on the rarely used "Integral" route up the east side of Chimborazo at 5400 metres (17,716.5 ft) elevation, 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) east of the summit.