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"Eight Lives Are Snuffed Out"

On February 15, 1936, almost two years from the date of the Electra's first official test flight, Lockheed rolled NX14971 out of the factory, it was the prototype Electra 10E, 1041, powered by two Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp SC1 engines. The aircraft, bearing registration XA-BAU, was delivered to Pan Am affiliate Compañía Mexicana de Aviación who added the aircraft to the Mexico City-Merida, Yucatan route.

In the early morning hours of December 2, 1938, eight people boarded XA-BAU (three crew, five passengers) at Mexico City for the flight to Merida. As the crew was readying the Electra for the flight ahead a thick fog had settled in around the airport and its surroundings. Finding everything to be satisfactory the aircraft began its takeoff roll; however, as the plane began moving down the runway it began to deviate from the centerline. Following rotation the pilots began following a wrong heading; as the aircraft began to climb, the pilots, due to the dense fog outside, failed to notice that the heading they were flying was taking the flight towards rapidly rising terrain. Five minutes after takeoff, Lockheed Electra 1041, XA-BAU, smashed into a the peak of Peñón de los Baños, destroying the aircraft and killing all those aboard. Airline officials attributed the fog, in addition to human error, as the reason for the crash, specifically highlighting that the highly experienced pilot had decided to proceed with the flight despite not having been authorized to take off due to poor weather conditions.

We remember the victims of this disaster:

Pilot C. Christiany, Co-Pilot A. Martinez, Radio Operator R. Sigler, Mrs. Celia Rojas and her children Carlos and Gloria, Alfonso Martinez Rojas and Ramon Ibarra.


Lockheed Electra 10E prototype

1041 while flying as XA-BAU

XA-BAU being reading for a flight (picture taken likely 1937-38)

The Latrobe Bulletin, Friday Dec. 2, 1938

The St. Louis Star and Times, Friday Dec. 2, 1938

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