The aircraft took off from the Colombian capital Bogotá en route to Cali. It was in the air five minutes when an explosive charge detonated on board, igniting fuel vapors in an empty fuel tank: the blast ripped the airliner apart,first the nose section tore off other remains including the tail section went down in flames. All 107 people on the aircraft were killed, as well as three people on the ground due to falling debris.
The bombing of Flight 203 was the worst single criminal attack in the many decades of Colombian violence. The Medellín drug cartel claimed responsibility for planting the bomb, saying it was targeting César Gaviria Trujillo, the leading candidate in the presidential elections, although he was not on the plane. Dandeny Muñoz Mosquera, the chief assassin for the Medellín Cartel, was convicted in a United States District Court for the bombing and was sentenced to 10 consecutive life sentences.