In 1996, the captain and flight engineer of a colombian cargo flight decided to prank their novice first officer..

LAC Colombia Flight 028, also known as the LAC Paraguay air disaster, was a cargo scheduled flight that took off from Silvio Pettirossi International Airport in Luque, Paraguay and was bound for Campinas International Airport in Campinas, Brazil. It is the worst plane crash in Paraguay. The crash was caused by the pilot improperly ceding control to the novice co-pilot shortly after takeoff, then turning off the engines to put the co-pilot in a difficult situation.

On February 4, 1996, at 14:12 local time, the plane, a 29-year-old Douglas DC-8 of the now-defunct Colombian airline Líneas Aéreas del Caribe (LAC) stalled and crashed in a neighborhood in the district of Mariano Roque Alonso, about ten kilometres (6.2 mi) north of Paraguay’s capital Asunción, a few minutes after takeoff, killing a total of 22 people, the 4 crew members of the plane, plus 18 people on the ground, mostly children who were playing on a soccer field. There were also several injuries and material losses, as the accident ended up affecting several houses in the surrounding area.


After analyzing the tapes of the two black boxes (voice recorder and flight recorder) that record the crew’s conversations and the movements made to the instruments in the last minutes of the flight, the investigators and the aeronautical authorities of Colombia, Paraguay and the United States concluded that the accident was due to fully proven human factors.

The main error consisted of the pilot performing a prohibited procedure by giving control of the plane to the co-pilot, who was a novice, thus hindering the operation in mid-flight. Since the beginning of the taxiing on the airport runway, the pilot and the engineer used expressions that denoted an excess of confidence about the conditions in which the flight was going to take place.

Chronology of events

The weather was good, the visibility was optimal, the aircraft was in excellent technical condition, the amount of fuel was adequate and they were not carrying any cargo, as they were going to pick it up in São Paulo and then transport it to Barranquilla. In addition, the crew was rested, as they had slept 12 hours. The aircraft took off around 2:30 p.m. from Luque Airport, bound for Campinas, Brazil.

A few minutes after takeoff, the pilot gave the control to his co-pilot, who was a novice, and began to test it: one of the left engines was turned off. This causes the aircraft to bank. Then another engine was turned off, at 500 feet, the co pilot was heard asking the more experienced pilots to stop joking “that way”, as the co-pilot took the control and tried to climb with two engines turned off in the middle of the climb.

Subsequently, two carburetion explosions were heard indicating that the aircraft was so forced to climb that no air was entering the other engines and they could not operate at full power, as was required at the time. When they tried to reactivate the shut down engines, they did not react in time, as the aircraft had not yet gained much altitude.

The plane ended up falling 1,500 meters from the end of the runway, just in a space where aircraft begin to turn to take their final course, in the Monseñor Bogarín de Mariano Roque Alonso neighborhood, a few minutes from the airport where it had taken off. The four Colombian crew members died instantly on the impact, just as 18 other people died on the ground, 13 of whom were children playing soccer in a field, in what today is the Sargento Vera alley near Capitán Aveiro street, northwest of the Silvio Pettirossi’s runway head. The crash severed the airline economically and its reputation, leading to its end of operation in the same year months later.

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