Mexicana Flight 704: 55 Years on in Monterrey

Mexicana Flight 704: 55 Years on in Monterrey
Photo Credit: RuthAS via Wikimedia Commons.

Mexicana de Aviación Flight 704, a seemingly routine domestic flight, etched itself into Mexican aviation history on June 4th, 1969, for a tragic reason.

This article explores the history of Flight 704, from its scheduled journey to its devastating conclusion, including the investigation and lasting impact.

A Doomed Flight Takes Off

Mexicana Flight 704: 55 Years on in Monterrey
JetPix (GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2, via Wikimedia Commons

Flight 704 departed Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City, bound for Monterrey’s Del Norte International Airport.

The aircraft, a Boeing 727-64 christened “Azteca de Oro” (Golden Aztec), carried 72 passengers and a crew of seven.

The flight was uneventful for most of its duration.

Confusion in the Cockpit

As Flight 704 neared Monterrey, however, the situation took a turn for the worse.

The exact details remain unclear, but reports indicate the crew received a signal that mimicked the signal from a navigational beacon near the airport.

This false signal may have led the pilots to believe they were closer to the runway than they actually were.

Believing they were in sight of the airport, the crew of Flight 704 initiated their final approach.

This action was the last confirmed communication received from the aircraft. Tragically, the pilots were mistaken.

Mexicana Flight 704: 55 Years on in Monterrey
JetPix (GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2, via Wikimedia Commons

Due to the misleading signal, they were significantly off course.

Instead of landing safely, Flight 704 flew directly into the mountainous terrain of the Cerro del Fraile range, located approximately 20 miles north of Monterrey.

The impact was catastrophic.

The aircraft was completely destroyed, and all 79 people on board perished.

The Search and Aftermath

The immediate aftermath of the crash involved a search for the missing aircraft.

Rescue crews eventually located the wreckage on the slopes of Cerro del Fraile, confirming the worst fears.

The accident became Mexico’s deadliest aviation disaster at the time, a tragic record that would only be surpassed in 1986 with the crash of Mexicana Flight 940.

The investigation into the crash of Flight 704 focused on determining the cause.

The presence of the false navigational signal emerged as a key factor. Investigators also explored other possibilities, such as pilot error or equipment malfunction.

JetPix (GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2, via Wikimedia Commons

However, a definitive cause for the misleading signal was never established.

The lack of a conclusive explanation regarding the false signal added a layer of mystery to the tragedy.

Theories surrounding the cause ranged from technical glitches to even deliberate sabotage, though none of these theories were ever proven.

A Legacy of Loss

The crash of Mexicana Flight 704 left a deep scar on Mexico’s aviation industry.

The loss of 79 lives was a devastating blow, and the families of the victims mourned their loved ones.

The accident also prompted a period of reevaluation of air traffic control procedures and navigational equipment reliability.

Mexicana Flight 704 serves as a stark reminder of the inherent dangers of aviation.

The accident also highlights the importance of rigorous safety protocols and continuous improvement in technology and training.

While the exact cause of the false signal may never be definitively known, the memory of Flight 704 continues to serve as a cautionary tale, urging vigilance and a commitment to safety in the skies.

Click the banner to subscribe to our weekly newsleter.

Click the photo to join our WhatsApp channel so then you can stay up to date with everything going on in the aviation industry!

By AviationSource News 4 Min Read
4 Min Read
You Might Also Enjoy