It was spotted in 1912 by the Venezuelan explorer Ernesto Sánchez La Cruz, but he did not publicize his discovery. It was not known to the outside world until American aviator Jimmie Angel flew over it on November 16, 1933 on a plane while he was searching for a valuable ore bed.
4 years later the plane with Jimmie Angel and his three companions, including his wife, was damaged when the wheels sank into the marshy ground, while Angel tried to land his monoplane at the peak of the Auyantepui mountain. It took them 11 days to make their way back to civilization, but news of their adventure spread, and the waterfall was named Angel Falls in his honor.
Angel's plane remained on top of the Auyantepui for 33 years before being lifted out by helicopter. It was restored at the Aviation Museum in Maracay and now sits outdoors on the front of the airport at Ciudad Bolívar.