Select Page

1996 ValuJet Crash: For more than 20 years, the FBI’s Miami Field Office has been searching for a fugitive airline mechanic who may have had a role in the fatal crash of a ValuJet Airlines passenger plane in the Florida Everglades in 1996.

The mechanic, Mauro Ociel Valenzuela-Reyes, worked for the airline’s maintenance contractor, SabreTech. He was facing federal criminal charges in 1999 after crash investigators determined he had a role in the mishandling and packaging of oxygen generators that were placed in the DC-9’s cargo hold. The generators, which were missing their required safety caps, ignited in the cargo area, causing the crash that killed all 110 passengers and crew members aboard.

“He fled before trial,” said FBI Miami Special Agent Jacqueline Fruge, who has been the primary agent on the case since it began.

Photo array including two age-progressed photos of Mauro Ociel Valenzuela-Reyes under a Wanted by the FBI poster banner. Valenzuela-Reyes is a fugitive in the 1996 crash of a ValuJet plane near Miami

Hoping to generate new leads, FBI Miami recently announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to Valenzuela-Reyes’s capture. A new wanted poster shows an array of photos of the fugitive as he appeared in 1996 and how he might appear today.

“We want closure,” said Fruge, who worked closely with the victims’ families in the days and years after the crash.

ValuJet Flight 592 had taken off from Miami International Airport on May 11, 1996, when the pilot reported a fire in the cargo area about 10 minutes into the flight. The plane was returning to the airport when it pitched nose-down into the shallow, marshy waters of the Everglades. Read more

Read also: Secretary General marks 69th anniversary of NATO, thanks Canada for its contributions

1996 ValuJet Crash: For more than 20 years, the FBI’s Miami Field Office has been searching for a fugitive airline mechanic who may have had a role in the fatal crash of a ValuJet Airlines passenger plane in the Florida Everglades in 1996.

1996 ValuJet Crash: For more than 20 years, the FBI’s Miami Field Office has been searching for a fugitive airline mechanic who may have had a role in the fatal crash of a ValuJet Airlines passenger plane in the Florida Everglades in 1996.