30 January 1979
Number of deaths
Pacific Ocean, Japan
Varig Flight 820, Varig Flight 254, Varig Flight 797, Flying Tiger Line Flight 739, Pakistan International Airlines Fl
"Million Dollar Mystery" (Varig Flight 967)
Varig Flight 967 was an international cargo flight from Narita International Airport to Rio de Janeiro–Galeão International Airport. On 30 January 1979 the Boeing 707-323C cargo aircraft of disappeared en route from Narita International Airport, in Tokyo, to Galeão International Airport, in Rio de Janeiro, with a stopover in Los Angeles International Airport. Neither the aircraft nor the six crew members have been found.
The aircraft involved was a Boeing 707-323C, construction number 19235, line number 519, delivered new to American Airlines under registration N7562A on 31 August 1966, and sold to Varig and delivered as PP-VLU on 28 March 1974. The jet was powered by four Pratt & Whitney JT3D-3B engines.
Captain Gilberto Araújo da Silva, 49, First Officer Erni Peixoto Mylius, 45, Second Officers Antonio Brasileiro da Silva Neto, 39, Evan Braga Saunders, 37, Flight Engineers José Severino Gusmão de Araújo, 42, and Nicola Exposito, 40, were the members of flight crew. In 1973, Captain Araújo da Silva was in charge of flight RG 820, a Boeing 707 carrying 134 people which crash-landed near Orly Airport, in Paris, with 123 fatalities. In 1979, at the time of disappearance, he had more than 23,000 hours logged.
On 30 January 1979, the Boeing 707-323C registered PP-VLU disappeared en route from Narita International Airport to Rio de Janeiro–Galeão International Airport. The cargo aircraft, operated by Varig, lost radio contact 30 minutes after takeoff, approximately 200 km ENE of Tokyo. Notably, the cargo included 53 paintings by Manabu Mabe, returning from a Tokyo exhibition, valued at US$1.24 million. Neither the wreck nor the paintings were ever found.