The purpose of this post, albeit out of the ordinary, is to
generate interest in and request a renewed search effort concerning a missing U.S. Navy
C-47 Aircraft, BUNR 17254, which is presumed to have crashed and was lost on
August 4, 1969 in Chile, South America. It has Never been located.
The loss of this aircraft is an unsolved mystery even to this day. This
incident hardly received any newsworthy attention in 1969 and during the
subsequent years that passed. There are very few archived news releases
about this incident which has practically become a forgotten occurrence.
The only detailed information I have been able to locate to date regarding
any U.S. Military investigative documentation on the disappearance of the
U.S. Navy C-47 is available at the Webpage for the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate
General's Corps, JAG Manual Investigations: http://www.jag.navy.mil/library/jagman_investigations.htm
Once at this webpage you can access the rather lengthy investigative
documentation by clicking on "Download" for the following description:
1969 04 AUG MISSING AIRCRAFT BUNO 17254 Download
According to the investigative report, the U.S. Navy aircraft was on a
scheduled maintenance flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina and on board were 16
passengers comprised of U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force service members along
with several spouses.
Radio contact with the U.S. Navy aircraft was lost after the aircraft was
approximately 27 miles south of the capital city of Santiago----some 20
minutes after departure---- somewhere between Rancagua, Chile and Angostura,
Chile according to the report findings.
The flight path appears initially to have been one that flew along the
Chilean side of the Andes mountain range until it was to reach a more
southern point at Curico, Chile and then take a flight path East through an
approved mountain pass through the Andes mountains towards Buenos Aires.
The lost radio contact happened at least 15 minutes before the aircraft was
even scheduled to reach the southern beacon point at Curico, Chile to access
the southern mountain pass.
The August timeframe is during the winter season in Chile and Argentina
---essentially the reverse of our seasons here in the U.S.--- and the
weather conditions were apparently very poor. Although a somewhat intensive
search was conducted at the time by Chilean military and civilian personnel
along with some American military aircraft support, severe weather was a
factor and the search ended on August 14, 1969. References were made to
continuing the search later during their warmer season but I have not been
able to confirm that this ever really took place.
This unresolved and mysterious tragedy was overshadowed and subsequently
forgotten due in part to the extreme weather conditions at the time and
quite possibly because on July 24, 1969 the Apollo 11 Astronauts had just
returned from the first successful moon landing.
Realistically, I understand that the chances are remote that any evidence of
wreckage will ever be located, but then again, technology has advanced since
then, and there is always a chance that a renewed search might turn up
something. Surely, high resolution satellite imagery and digital analysis
could play a big part in discovering the wreckage of the aircraft. In order
for there to be any attention given to this unsolved tragedy, it needs to be
brought to the attention of our government, the Chilean government and
anyone else that might have expertise in finding and recovering lost and
My hope is that this lost aircraft mystery will spur interest in the public
and government sector to begin a renewed effort to help locate the
I believe what prompted me to finally express this request is my having come
across a blog site addressing aircraft crashes at: http://www.pacaeropress.websitetoolbox.com/post?id=3656538
On this Blog site there are posts from at least two individuals whose
parents were passengers on the ill-fated aircraft. They are still hoping
that the wreckage site will be found one day.