Thursday, 25th of January, 2001
RUTACA Airlines Flight 225, a domestic tourist flight from Ciudad Bolívar Airport to Ciudad Bolívar Airport, Venezuela, operated with a Douglas C-47A-65-DL (DC-3C), registration YV-224C, crashed into trees and burst into flames while attempting to return to the departure airport following engine problems in Ciudad Bolívar, Venezuela.
The aircraft was destroyed. The four crew members and 20 passengers perished including one person on the ground. (25 fatalities)
The crash of Flight 225 is the 16th deadliest aviation accident on Venezuelan soil.
The flight took off from Canaima Airport in Canaima to the Caribbean Island of Isla Margarita with a refueling stop in Ciudad Bolívar. The aircraft was carrying 20 passengers and 4 crew members, piloted by Captain Ángel López and co-piloted by Captain Walter Manríquez.
Shortly after taking off from Tomás de Heres Airport, the aircraft suddenly lost altitude and the crew attempted to return to the airport. Witnesses recalled that one engines appeared to be on fire. The aircraft crashed into a large tree and split into two then exploded on impact, with debris raining down on the shantytown of Abobo. One of the wings came off the main body and crashed onto homes. All 20 passengers and 4 crew members were killed in the crash. Firefighters were rushed onto the scene and rescue services were immediately deployed to help the injured. At least 3 people were injured, identified as a mother and two of her children, whose all suffered 80% burn on their bodies. One person on the ground was killed during the impact.