Horror Xmas plane crash killed 159 as Boeing 757 crashed at speed into mountain

A horror plane crash saw 159 people killed instantly as the vehicle slammed into a frozen mountain side – with sick thieves pillaging the site just hours later.

The horrifying incident occurred 27 years ago today, on December 20, 1995, and saw just four passengers and a miracle dog survive the American Airlines Flight 956 crash in Colombia.

The flight was supposed to fly from Miami International Airport in the United States, taking 155 passengers to the Alfonso Bonilla Aragon International Airport in Colombia, with many of them presumably travelling there for Christmas.

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Guiding them was Captain Nicholas Tafuri, alongside First Office Donald Williams – but even they couldn't stop the chaos which occurred, despite their almost 13,000 combined hours of flying experience.

The flight suffered from the fact that California's air traffic controllers had no working radar to watch over the Boeing 757-223, as it had been destroyed by a terror attack in 1992.

However, the flight took place in darkness, at around 6.30pm, and the in-flight navigation system was suffering issues and they only realised they were heading for a mountain in the Andes just 12 seconds before it crashed.

According to the experts at Admiral Cloudberg, who have a podcast series about plane crashes: “Only the sudden blare of ground proximity warning system stirred them from their paralysis, but despite a heroic attempt to avoid disaster, it was already too late – straining to climb, pitched up nearly to the point of stalling, flight 965 slammed into the darkened summit of El Diluvio.

“Just four passengers, spared by some twist of fate, would survive to see the morning light.

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“Nearly all of them (the passengers) were first or second-generation immigrants returning to their old family stomping grounds in Colombia for the Christmas holiday.

“Dozens of them were children – most were looking forward to seeing relatives; many were bringing their kids back to the homeland for the first time.

“All six flight attendants were also Colombian-born and had been working this route for years across three different US airlines; on the basis of seniority, they had been awarded this trip in order to go home to their families for Christmas, just like their passengers.”

The four survivors were Mercedes Ramirez, Mauricio Reyes, Gonzalo Dussan and daughter Michelle, six.

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A dog also survived, but little is known about who he belonged to or what happened to him.

Shockingly just hours after the crash happened, it emerged that guerrillas had taken over and were looting the area

They took the thrust reversers, cockpit navigation ssytem and many other parts of the plane before anyone else had a change to properly investigate – this forced the military to arrive and secure it so that survivors could be helped and an investigation take place.

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The investigation showed that the crash happened because of the flight crew's failure to understand the on-board Flight Management System, as well as their “lack of situational awareness” relating to flying over a mountainous terrain.

As a result of the crash, it was ruled that anyone attempting to fly a craft with more than six passengers on board in the area would need to have a“terrain awareness warning system” on-board before doing so.

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