Pilot transmission: - last words of pilot Jose Pagan Santos:
Location. Mona Channel, Caribbean Ocean near Puerto Rico
Date: June 28 1980
At 1810 Jose Antonio Maldonado Torres and his friend, Jose Pagan Santos, took off from Las Americas International Airport in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in an Ercoupe aircraft marked N3808H.
The Ercoupe was owned by Santo’s father Jose Pagan Jimenez, an Aero
Police officer in Puerto Rico. They were bound for home in Puerto Rico. At 2003 the Las Mesas radar site and several aircraft picked up radio transmissions from N3808H:
“Mayday, Mayday, Ercoupe ocho cero, eight zero, zero, Hotel. We can see a strange object in our course, we are lost, Mayday, Mayday.”
An Iberia Airlines flight IB-976 en route from Santo Domingo to Spain responded to the Mayday and received a reply:
“Ah we are going from Santo Domingo to ah San Juan International but we found ah a weird object in our course that made us change course about three different times we got it right in front of us now at one o’clock, our heading is zero seven zero degrees…our altitude one thousand six hundred a zero seven zero degrees…our VORs got lost off frequency…”
Iberia Flight IB-976 then relayed a message from San Juan Center asking N3808H to turn on their transponder.
N3808H replied that the Ercoupe was not equipped with a transponder. At 2006 Iberia IB-976 asked for their call sing and estimated position and received this reply:
“Right now we are supposed to be a about thirty five miles from the coast of Puerto Rico but we have something weird in front of us that make us lose course all the time I changed our course a second (unintelligible) our present heading right now is three hundred we are right again in the same stuff sir.”
They were not heard from again. At 2012 the Atlantic Fleet Weapons Range verified the last radar position of N3808H as thirty five miles west of Puerto Rico. A search that included Santos’s father was then mounted which centered on this last radar position. It was discontinued after two days when no trace had been found. No trace was ever found.
The Disappearance of flight N3808H, Puerto Rico, 1980