20 Years ago today: On 17 January 2002 a Petroproduccion Fairchild FH-227 flew into a mountain while heading for Lago Agrio, Ecuador, killing all 26 occupants.

Date:Thursday 17 January 2002
Type:Silhouette image of generic F27 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Fairchild FH-227E
Operator:Petroproduccion – Unidad de Aviacion
First flight:1966
Total airframe hrs:29154
Engines:Rolls-Royce Dart 532-7L
Crew:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 5
Passengers:Fatalities: 21 / Occupants: 21
Total:Fatalities: 26 / Occupants: 26
Aircraft damage:Damaged beyond repair
Location:Cerro El Tigre (   Colombia)
Phase:En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Quito-Mariscal Sucre Airport (UIO/SEQU), Ecuador
Destination airport:Lago Agrio Airport (LGQ/SELA), Ecuador

The FH-227 departed Quito at 10:38 for a 37-minute flight to fly workers to an oil site in the Amazon jungle. The VFR flight was conducted at an altitude of 15,500 feet. At 10:50 the crew contacted the Nueva Loja Tower at Lago Agrio and reported near Olmedo. The Tower controller reported that runway 23 was in use and that the weather included a 6 knot wind at 020 degrees, temperature 29 degrees. The crew were then to have turned from 064 to 094 degrees, direct to Lago Agrio. They failed to do so and continued their present heading. After reporting 50 miles out at 10:59, they were cleared to descend. This was the last contact with the flight. The crew continued their descent until the airplane flew into the fog-shrouded side of El Tigre Mountain at an elevation of 11,916 feet.

Probable Cause:
PROBABLE CAUSE (translated from Spanish): “The Accident Investigative Board estimates that the probable cause of the accident was LOSS OF SITUATIONAL AWARENESS by the crew, since their attention was focused on aspects that were not related to the flight being executed and therefore neglecting the primary function of flight which is the control of the aircraft and decision making.
– Crew failure to maintain a sterile cockpit
– The continuous distraction of the crew throughout the flight
– The lack of technical documentation in the CIA that supports the operation.
– Lack of crew training in CRM, human factors and CFIT
– The weather conditions at the time of the accident on Mount El Tigre made it impossible for the crew to see the mountain.
– The lack of defence systems on the aircraft (GPWS ground proximity warning system)