Viasa Flight 742 was an international, scheduled passenger flight from Caracas, Venezuela to Miami International Airport with an intermediate stopover in Maracaibo, Venezuela that crashed on 16 March 1969. After taking off, the DC-9-30 hit a series of power lines before crashing into the La Trinidad section of Maracaibo. All 84 people on board perished, as well as 71 on the ground.
The DC-9 involved in the crash was on lease from Avensa and had only been in service for a month.
The cause of the crash was attributed to faulty sensors along the runway and take-off calculations made from erroneous information, which resulted in an aircraft being overloaded by more than 5,000 pounds for the prevailing conditions. Only two days after the crash, Venezuela's Public Works Minister ascribed runway length as a contributing factor in the disaster.
As the DC-9 headed toward Ziruma, it failed to gain altitude, and the plane's left engine struck a power pole. As the plane banked left, a reflector struck the fuel tank, spilling fuel. After hitting another power pole, the plane's left wing was ripped off the plane and the left engine exploded into flames. The plane crashed in a small park in La Trinidad. The impact was so hard that the right engine was torn off the plane and impacted a house.
Flight 742 was the first loss of a DC-9-30, and it remains the deadliest accident involving that type of aircraft. It was also the deadliest accident in Venezuela until West Caribbean Airways Flight 708 (operated by a McDonnell Douglas MD-80, the DC-9's successor aircraft) crashed over thirty-six years later. At the time, the crash was the world's deadliest civil air disaster. The fatality total was surpassed in 1971 by All Nippon Airways Flight 58, which killed 162 people after colliding with an F-86 fighter jet.
One of the people who perished in the Viasa Flight 742 crash was San Francisco Giants pitching prospect Néstor Chávez.