LAPA Flight 3142 was a flight from Buenos Aires to Córdoba, Argentina operated by the Argentinian airline LAPA. The plane crashed at the Aeroparque Jorge Newbery in Buenos Aires on August 31, 1999 at 20:54 local time, shortly after take-off. The crash resulted in 65 fatalities, 17 people severely injured, and several people with minor injuries, making it one of the deadliest accidents in the history of Argentinian aviation.
As the aircraft took off, an alarm began to sound, to which the pilots paid no attention. This alarm, whose cause the pilots could not determine, indicated that the aircraft’s flaps were retracted, preventing take-off even though the aircraft had achieved minimum take-off speed by this time. Unable to stop before the end of the runway due to its high speed, the Boeing aircraft continued beyond the ramp, later breaking through the airport’s perimeter fence, crossing a road, dragging with it an automobile that was travelling on the road, and finally colliding with road-construction machinery and a highway median. Gasoline spilling over the hot engines and gas leaking after a gas regulation station was damaged caused the incineration and total destruction of the aircraft.
The Civil Aviation Accidents Board of Investigations (Junta de Investigaciones de Accidentes de Aviación Civil – JIAAC) determined that the pilots forgot to configure the aircraft correctly for take-off. Nevertheless, the penal prosecution focused on proving that the company’s policies and organization, lacking the Argentine Air Force’s controls, were the main factors that led to the accident. For instance, it was mentioned that a pilot was allowed to fly without a license by the company. Because of these perceived flaws, some of LAPA’s directors and the Air Force functionaries responsible for monitoring the airline were taken to jury trial.