Lockheed's third Electra 10E, 1043, was delivered to Pan Am in mid-1935, registration NC14973. Pan Am delivered the Electra to its subsidiary Aerovias Centrales, where the registration was changed to XA-BAS; the aircraft only flew with the airline for several months before it was sold to Compania Mexicana de Aviacion (CMA). While flying for CMA, the Electra was put on a special service flight between Villahermosa and Mexico City, running whenever business was warranted. On August 12, 1938, XA-BAS (sometimes reported as XA-BES in newspapers) took off rom Villahermosa at 11:25 a.m. with 11 people on board; 40 minutes later, 12:05 p.m., the flight radioed in reporting that all was well. 13 minutes after the first transmission, XA-BAS radioed back in to report that it was flying through strong rain at an altitude of 11,000 feet. That was the last anyone heard from the aircraft. The next day a search for the missing aircraft began, and at 5:32 p.m. that afternoon the wreck was sighted just off the regular route, roughly four miles from Apalapan. As search parties and investigators began to reach the wreck signs of a fire were evident and it was assumed that the Electra had plummeted to the earth with great force; as evidenced by nearby trees there were no signs of any dislodgement. All 11 bodies were burned and crushed beyond recognition; investigators discovered the pilot's watch among the debris, upon impact the time had stopped at 12:42. Following the accident insurance companies agreed to pay $5000 pesos per victim; some sources state that an engine failure was the cause of the crash in addition to the storm.
The victims of the tragic disaster were: Pilot Jorge Castro, Co-Pilot Jose Luis Castillo, Radio Operator Gerardo Delatorre, Julio Mora, Jacoba P. DeCruz, Sara Tinoco, Manuel Avalos, Delfilia Becerra, Antonio Bravo, Luis Graham, and Eugene M. Carlson. (Newspapers at the time stated that Luis Graham and Eugene Carlson were believed to have been Americans but were unable to trace any address back to their names.)
The Evening Sun, Saturday, August 13, 1938
The Record, Saturday August 13, 1938