Aircraft Accidents that Disappear

On December 18, 2003, an LAS DC-9 crashed near Mitu, Colombia. Foreign soil accidents aren’t always listed in the NTSB archives.
However, the NTSB participated in the investigation; they invested taxpayer money, investigator time, analyzed the recorders; it has to be listed. Furthermore, an NTSB investigator/liaison spearheaded the investigation with Colombian officials.
That investigator was me.
Why’s this important? Two air crash websites showed the aircraft was missing, the crew ‘believed’ dead and the recorders unrecovered. A third said it crashed, aircraft located – not recovered – and the cause: Undetermined. One surmised: controlled flight into a mountain, aka, pilot error.
There was no mountain and no pilot error.
This is what happened: the aircraft suffered a catastrophic structural failure due to a poor engineering design. I heard the CVR recording; sound analysis pinpointed a loud bang somewhere around the wing box. I read the FDR readout; all flight and engine controls were locked during the plummet from cruise altitude to the ground. The crew didn’t fly into a mountain; they yelled all the way to impact, unable to move the controls.
How does this Colombian aircraft accident affect the US? The cause was defined, but ignored by the NTSB. The victims were wrongly blamed. Most importantly, the DC-9 was leased to LAS by a U.S. operator; the poor engineering design could still be on a US-flown narrow-body passenger or cargo aircraft. Where did the findings go?

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