December 25, 1995 in Nation/World

Mourners Bury Air Crash Victims

Associated Press
 

Weeping pallbearers bid farewell Sunday to victims of 1995’s worst air crash, and rescuers high in the Andes looked for the last bodies in the wreckage of the American Airlines jetliner.

“This Christmas has brought a lot of death,” said John Jairo Bergara, a worker digging a grave at Cali’s Metropolitan Cemetery, where families buried some of the 160 people who perished in the crash Wednesday night. Four people and a dog survived.

Several hundred mourners, some wearing sunglasses to mask their tears, gathered at the cemetery service for six victims, including a family of four.

Most of the passengers on Flight 965 from Miami were Colombians headed home for the holidays to Cali, Colombia’s second-largest city.

Army helicopters skimmed over treetops as rescuers searched for the last human remains in the debris-strewn crash site on San Jose peak, 40 miles from Cali. About 10 bodies were missing Sunday, said Army Col. Justo Pena.

There was no word Sunday on what caused the Boeing 757 to crash. The plane was 13 miles off course when it went down, but the crew reported no trouble before the crash, and weather conditions were good.

However, The Washington Post quoted sources close to the investigation as saying investors believe the crash was caused by human error.

The Post report in today’s editions said Colombian and U.S. technicians and officials working in the NTSB labs in Washington believe mechanical trouble or sabotage probably did not contribute to the crash.

“What we clearly have is an operational accident,” the Post quoted one source familiar with the investigation as saying.

The paper said that terminology would mean the pilots or air traffic controllers, or both, made mistakes.

© Copyright 1995 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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