Crash site Cerro Blanco near Palca, Peru 
Airline LAN Chile (Linea Aerea Nacional Chile)
Aircraft Potez 56  –  CCLAN 5 
Route Santiago  –  Antofagasta  –  Iquique  –  Arica 
Crew 1  –  0 survivors 
Passengers 3  –  0 survivors


The crash

The plane was on a scheduled flight in Chile with passengers and mail. It arrived at Antofagasta on 26 March. The plane was refuelled and checked by a local mechanic, who should accompany the pilot on the flight to Arica and back again. The mechanic encountered a problem with one of the engines and it took him most of the afternoon to fix the problem. He went down to the city to change clothes, but due to the hard work in the sun he fainted in his hotel room. The pilot was unaware of the faith of the mechanic and as it was getting late he decided to continue the flight without the mechanic. As it was getting dark he decided to spend the night in Iquique. At dawn on 27 March at 04:45 the plane took off from Iquique but never reached Arica. The plane was last spotted when it passed Pisagua on its way up north.
The Chile Aviation Group No. 1 searched after the plane for several days without success.
The wreck was eventually found on 24 June in the mountainous area Cerro Blanco near Palca about 30 km northeast of Tacna in Peru. The pilot must have lost the orientation since the plane crashed around 85 km from Arica, where it was expected to land.


The mail

On board the plane was mail from different countries in Europe destined for Peru. The mail was to be transported by rail from Arica across the border to Tacna in Peru.
Some of the mail from the crashed plane was recovered and brought to Lima for further processing. A special handstamp was produced and a label is also known. Some of the covers were backstamped with Peruvian postmarks dated 25 or 26 July before the final forwarding.
One Nordic item is known (cover from Sweden).



Peruvian handstamp.
Size:  76 x 15 mm.

Note til error in spelling – “acurrido” should be “ocurrido”.
Recovered from airplane accident on 27 March 1937.






Examples of mail

19370327-005a 19370327-005b
Cover from Sweden postmarked GÖTEBORG 19.3.37 addressed to Lima, Peru with crash handstamp type A. On the back is a PARIS AVION transit postmark dated 20-III-1937 and an arrival postmark CORREOS DEL PERU LIMA  25.VII 1937.
The function of the small boxed handstamp with number “3” is unknown.
Thiesen Collection.