Avianca Flight 203
|27 November 1989
|Cerro Canoas, Soacha, Colombia
Avianca Flight 203 was a Colombian domestic passenger flight from El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá to Alfonso Bonilla Aragón International Airport in Cali. It was destroyed by a bomb over the municipality of Soacha on 27 November 1989.
Five minutes after the aircraft took off from Bogotá and flying at a speed of 794 kilometres per hour (493 mph), a bomb exploded on board, igniting fuel vapours in an empty fuel tank.
The aircraft, a Boeing 727-21 with registration number HK-1803 and purchased from Pan American World Airways, took off as scheduled at 7:11 a.m. Five minutes into the flight, a bomb placed near the fuel tank exploded at 13,000 feet. The blast ripped the airliner apart: the nose section separated from the tail section, which went down in flames. All 107 people on board were killed, as well as three people on the ground who were killed by falling debris. According to the investigations the bomb was placed by a man wearing a suit who was able to bring the bomb inside the aircraft in a suitcase.
The bombing of Avianca Flight 203 was the deadliest single criminal attack in the many decades of Colombian violence. Pablo Escobar of the Medellín cartel planned the bombing, hoping it would kill presidential candidate for the 1990 Colombian presidential election César Gaviria Trujillo.  Gaviria, however, was not on the aircraft, and would go on to become President of Colombia. Two Americans were among the dead, and because of this, the Bush Administration began Intelligence Support Activity operations to find Escobar.