COLOMBIA: On Mt. Tablazo

South above the green Magdalena River Valley droned a big four-motored DC-4 on one of the world's most famed time-saving runs; by boat or train it is four days from steamy, coastal Barranquilla to highland Bogotá, by air 2¼ hours. This run had the usual vanload of time-savers —49 passengers (including five U.S. businessmen) plus a crew of four.

At Bogotá the airport radio operator for the airline (Avianca, a subsidiary of Pan American World Airways) received a routine message: the DC-4 was 30 minutes out, would soon ask for landing instructions. For...

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