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Video of the Falls

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Many rivers originate on top of the tepuis with gigantic waterfalls which precipitate to the bottom.

 Monumental
 
We were able to take this photo of the border of the falls from the summit.
Photo: David Domínguez
 

La Gran Catarata.

Aerial shot of Angel Falls 979 mts.

Angel Falls is a waterfall in south-eastern Venezuela, situated on the Churún River, a tributary of the Carrao River. It is the highest uninterrupted waterfall in the world, 15 times the height of Niagara Falls; with a drop of 979 m (3230 ft) originating from the flat top of Auyan Tepuy, into the robust jungles of Guayana.
Of a beauty unlike any other, locals and foreigners alike are stunned and awed by this masterpiece of nature plunging into the abyss.


The height of 3 Empire State Buildings

 

Angel Falls is without a doubt the most popular attraction in Canaima National Park.  It can be reached by means of excursions that leave from Canaima.  You can also fly over it in airplane, however, the climate conditions in the Angel Falls area many times conflict with our intentions to see this wonder and are found to be too cloudy or blocked by the abundant fog, but it is worth the try.

THE CONQUEST OF AUYANTEPUY BY JIMMY ÁNGEL

Taken from the magazine LINEAS: 

LÍNEAS considers it a privilege to offer to its readers a graphic document about the landing of the celebrated North American pilot, Jimmy Angel on the plateau of Auyantepuy, and an account from his expedition partner, Gustavo Heny, regarding the feat that shook the world 33 years ago. 

We cannot fail to mention our appreciation to Mr. Enrique Lucca Escobar, of Caracas Electricity, who conserved throughout many years, the photo negatives we publish today, with the given authorization of its author, Gustavo Heny, and which illustrates the story.

The events have been narrated to Enrique Lucca by a friend of Jimmy Angel’s, and the written version has been assigned to Próspero Navarro Sotillo.
As we proudly celebrate the 50th year anniversary of our National Air Force, we believe that the documents we offer in this edition can be integrated into the great history of the conquerors of infinite spaces.

All of these photo date 1937.  The "palmas llaneras" of Kamarata –out of curiosity, see LÍNEAS, March 70.  You can not see the crown of Auyantepuy, like in the left photograph, just the flow of water and mist of Angel Falls.

 

A TESTIMONY...

We go back to the year 1920, the original landing of Jimmy Angel’s plane on the plateau of Auyantepui, some 17 years earlier.  The exact occurrence was October 9th, 1937.

 

ANTECEDENTS

In 1920, while he carried out a demo flight throughout South America, Jimmy Angel was forced to undergo an emergency landing on top of an Andean plateau (3,500 meters height) due to electrical damage.  The skilled North American pilot manufactured a spare part with the sole of one his shoes, and as a result was able to take off and continue the flight without any further interruption.  He arrived in Panama -Jimmy Angel-from his demo flight and found himself at a hotel bar where at the time he was commenting over the aforementioned event regarding the forced landing, when a North American gentleman approached him with a map in hand.  What did he want?  He proposed that the aviator take him to an important place south of the Orinoco River in Venezuela, where a similar landing and take-off was necessary-having already been there- but at a height of 2.600 meters.  Jimmy was not that interested, seeing that he had just returned from a long flight, and trying to rid himself of this individual, he told him yes, but he required for his services the sum of five thousand dollars…in the form of a check from a bank in Panama, before carrying out the flight.  With that Jimmy would not say no, but he demanded a very high fee.  And in truth, he considered that it would be a difficult amount to pay for the person who had made the proposition.  Imagine the surprise of Jimmy Angel, when at 10 the following morning he received a visit from this foreign character, with the check for exactly $5,000.
A man of his word, Jimmy made the necessary arrangements, and in accordance with what was previously established, he transported his passenger to Venezuela, heading into our territory towards the south, past the Orinoco River ...


Jimmy Ángel

JIMMY’S ACCOUNT

Regarding the account by Jimmy years later, he did not know the exact site and was guided by the foreign adventurer, who indicated a river on whose side he could land.  That’s what Jimmy did: he landed over a small savannah and, he remembered, that the weather was not very good and it was raining a lot.  He immediately became extremely worried that an abundant amount of water was penetrating one of the wings of the plane.  He made use of a pocketknife to cut some cloth and reduce it.  They remained there half the afternoon and all night, plenty of time for the passenger to undergo an exploration of a nearby area, bringing back with him about 60 pounds of gold nuggets, inside sacks, which surely he kept at hand waiting for this exact opportunity.

 

WHERE DID THE GOLD COME FROM?

It appears that this North American, in the company of another, had undergone an expedition from Peru to Ciudad Bolívar, where they planned to conclude their adventure.  But before they could bring a happy ending to their trip, his friend died as a consequence of a snake bite.  It seems that they had left this treasure in a secure place with the purpose of collecting it at the first opportunity.  And that was what this man did, brought by Jimmy to this unknown region... The following morning, Angel and his passenger took off bound for Panama, where they arrived without any setbacks.  For Jimmy this strange flight was not that significant, it was just like any other flight, paying no attention to the transported cargo.  Why? A North American firm was producing a great plane and he only dreamed in piloting and showing it…

      

En el Campamento -también conocido por "1.100"- en Guayaraca, base de operaciones de Jimmy Ángel. En aquel entonces vemos a Gustavo Heny, al lado de una tienda de campaña.

YEARS LATER

Coincidentally, Jimmy and the other North American meet again on a train, and upon recognizing each other began to reminisce about the trip to the south of the Orinoco…14 years ago. During the conversation the adventurer asked Jimmy if he had become a millionaire, because he presumed that he had returned to the spot where, according to him, you could find gold right on the surface of the ground.  This realization caused Jimmy Angel to change his activities; combining two different emotions with his desire to return to Venezuela; his love of flying and the adventure to find the gold, en route to an "El Dorado". . . Since then, -years 1934 - 1935- Jimmy and his wife María, invested their savings in the search of this site, and a business buying and selling airplanes also resulted favourably, resulting in the Flamingo, which he used in future flights and which he christened with the name “Rio Caroni.”

 

EXPLORATION FLIGHTS AND THE DISCOVERY OF ANGEL FALLS

Angel undertook numerous flights on his own.  On one of these, with the company of a technical sergeant with the last name Garcia, while flying over the top of Auyantepui, which was the region that most attracted Jimmy, they observed for the first time the waterfall that today bears his name: Angel Falls, and were astounded by its height.   Jimmy revealed his discovery upon his return, and the scale of the falls was corroborated by other people, including Mr. Shorty Martin, geologist and topographer that was exploring and surveying the zone, and who had become a great friend of Jimmy, whom he met at Kamarata Camp in Bolivar state.  Shorty and Jimmy decided to draw a map of Auyantepui, and with that in mind, they flew over the border of the mountain recording the data of the course, velocity, and height.  According to the plane’s altimeter the waterfall was almost 1,000 meters high, making it the highest in the world.  This was confirmed years later by an expedition that measured its exact height.
 

WHY WAS IT NAMED  "ANGEL FALLS?”

The name it carries today –Angel Falls- emerged during a meeting taking place in Caracas and which concluded with Jimmy’s landing on the top of Auyantepui.  At this gathering, in addition to Jimmy and Shorty, Gustavo Heny was present-to whom we owe this present account-who had taken an interest in the project.  When they spoke of the falls, he-Heny- asked what its name was.  Both remained -Jimmy and Shorty- unable to respond.  There existed no map of the region and they had not named the one they had drawn either.  It was Heny who suggested the name Angel, using Jimmy’s last name, its discoverer and the one who made it public.

Exactly how the plane remained after its landing on Auyantepuy. Jimmy Ángel is wearing the hat and conversing with María. It was the morning of October 9th, 1937...


 

LANDING ON AUYANTEPUI

 

This new group, including Gustavo Heny and Miguel Delgado, travelled in the company of Jimmy and his wife Maria, to the south of Auyantepuy.  In a savannah, where Angel usually landed, they set up camp that functioned as an operations base. The whole time Jimmy insisted that in that area, or very nearby, they would find the area they seeked.  Flights followed by more flights of exploration, and land surveys led by Heny and Delgado, continued without pause.  Gustavo scaled the plateau of Auyantepuy in two separate occasions,  each time getting closer to the area Jimmy claimed to recognize, but it was not possible to reach due to the difficulty of climbing down a great interior wall that was 1,200 feet high which divided the plateau of Auyantepuy.  Observing the savannah, although the formations were the same as the other, he came to the conclusion that it was not the same place. Why? The terrain was extremely smooth, covered mostly by vegetable beds, not yet cultivated, which amongst them grew ferns and plants "in the form of small mounds of grass", over which one had to step, consequently sinking up to their knees in mire. 
When Heny came down from his second exploration, in which he spent 15 days, he received a surprise:  Jimmy had returned from a flight to Ciudad Bolivar, the plane filled with provisions, had flown over the plateau and touched ground, satisfied that he had found firm ground.  He only awaited the return of Gustavo to inform him of this and immediately proceeded to the projected landing site.  Gustavo Heny, hearing this, tried to dissuade Jimmy from initiating this flight immediately, and asked him to wait prudently for 12 days, giving him the opportunity to climb on foot and mark the landing site.  But Jimmy Angel’s response was that when it came to landing sites, he knew more than Gustavo and besides, everything was fine.  They had been waiting for the moment when they would find the unknown spot, which they had already spent 3 years searching for and in which all their savings was invested….

In spite of everything, Heny’s persistence achieved its purpose, but only in terms of hours, and they agreed to depart the following morning.  At that decisive moment the clock read 2 p.m. on October 8, 1937.  Loading the plane would take some time.  Was all this logical? Between Gustavo and Jimmy there existed an unlimited trust that the other had taken on as their responsibility, and on this occasion Jimmy told him: I’m sure that I can make this landing and if something does happen…you can get us back to camp.  Gustavo, as far as he was concerned, trusted in the skills and expertise of the seasoned pilot.  That, apparently, reduced the risks of the adventure… They unloaded everything from the plane that was not essential, including gasoline, which filled the tanks only enough for the roundtrip flight-flights that wouldn’t take more than a quarter of an hour each way.  They brought a tent, 80 meters of rope, and enough food for 15 days, enough time, which Gustavo estimated in a letter to his brother in Caracas, to take care of any unforeseen events.  For a month he had been considering the possibility of a landing on Auyantepuy.
In accordance with Jimmy’s instructions, he placed the majority of the weight towards the tail, even taking into account the weight of the passengers.  As a result the distribution was as follows:  Gustavo, in the last seat, followed by Miguel, María and Jimmy ...

"All ok" (todos bien) and the arrow indicator of the course: on the wings of the plane NC-9487, where the nose appears buried.


 

THE MORNING OF OCTOBER 9TH, 1937

The sky cleared on October 9th 1937 and everyone was ready and willing.  The takeoff occurred without an problems at 11:20 am, arriving within 15 minutes to the plateau, which they flew over for several minutes before proceeding with the landing.  The bold group could not hide their uncertainty that overcame them of landing on Auyantepui without an difficulties when the moment approached.  But Jimmy was so determined to carry it out that at once he lined up the plane with the so-called runway and since the terrain looked favourable he cut the motor, electricity, and placed all the switches on off,  their luck was made.  The "Flamingo" quietly began to graze the surface with its three tires–in perfect position for a three point landing- leaving each time deeper, tread marks from its tires in the small grass mounds, to the extent in which the velocity decreased and the wings lost their lift.  Everyone remained in eloquent silence until they heard a voice. It was Heny, yelling from the back of the cabin:
Pull-out Jimmy ... pull-out...
The alert concurred with a small hop of the plane before falling into softer ground, which obstructed the front landing gear and with the inertia lifted the tail, sinking the nose up to the motor’s axle and coming to a position, as if saying: Auyantepui, before you I surrender ...
It was 11:45 a.m.

Inside the cabin resulted confusion, when Gustavo Heny’s “seat belt” ripped which was made of rope and string, and whose large body-1,90 metros- passed between Miguel and María, and fell straddled on top of Jimmy, who, with the fly wheel and instrument panels, were very uncomfortably stuck.
At the request of Jimmy, María and Miguel jumped out of the plane, while he and Gustavo came out –practically crawling – through the front door.  Although there was little gas, it leaked over one of the wings which supported the plane while in this uncomfortable position.  Fortunately, thanks to the precautions taken by Jimmy, the plane did not light on fire.  Besides the scare the accident caused, the four passengers were safe and unharmed.  After confirming that, their first endeavour was to straighten out the plane with the rope they carried.  They tied it to the tail and pulled.
The first test…

A GREAT DISAPPOINTMENT

To the hour been suitable with the camping, the calls through radio equipment of the airplane began, but unfortunately they did not obtain answer some, it soon repeated in each opportunity and stated time for the contacts. And the same bad luck that in other occasions… Was indeed between calls and calls when Jimmy Angel underwent the greater disappointment; it was transferred to the border of the river that, according to him, was place of its landing in 1920. And the difference of an appreciation done from the air and the crude reality verified its error when noticing to do it, in earth. Was not the site! This, naturally, produced a great grief in the group, but the weather of those expeditionary ones did not yield before the adversity and, immediately, they were dedicated to plan the reduction. In the wings of the airplane, they were written with fabric and adhesive, the words “all ok” (all good), and with an arrow indicated the course that would follow. Jimmy also left a note in the airplane, with the hour and result of the landing, as well as the list of the members of the passage; in addition, the nonessential apparatuses and bulks would be left attack, in order to avoid hindrances in the reduction.

EPILOGUE OF AN ODYSSEY

After the odyssey, Jimmy passed some sinsabores in Venezuela and, grieved, she retired to live in Panama, where she died in 1956. The one was its last desire that their scattered ashes were brought to Venezuela and on the region, that so many adventures him deparó and from which always kept a deep memory. Their desires were fulfilled. Maria, their son and Gustavo, in simple but touching ceremony, scattered from an airplane and on Salto Angel, the content of that coffer that, like diaphanous cloud, was embraced to Salto, and with him it always watered for the Earth that Jimmy as much loved…

Taken from: Lines, Nº156, April, 1970, pp.10 to 16
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The enormous waterfall impresses with its great natural beauty

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Comparación del Salto Angel.
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publicidad

Mystic Tours

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publicidad

Ruta Salvaje Tours

 
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Indigenous community "Kavac", from here you can undergo excursions to beautiful caverns

 

Impressive rock columns of the tepui

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