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List of airliner shootdown incidents

In the history of commercial aviation, there have been many airliner shootdown incidents which have been caused intentionally or by accident. This is a chronologically ordered list meant to document instances where airliners have been brought down by gunfire or missile attacks, including wartime incidents, rather than terrorist bombings or sabotage.


[edit] 1940s

[edit] Kaleva

Junkers Ju 52-3/mge "Kaleva" OH-ALL was a small transport plane operated by the Finnish carrier Aero O/Y, shot down by two Soviet Ilyushin DB-3 bombers on June 14, 1940, while en route from Tallinn to Helsinki.[1] This occurred during the Interim Peace between Finland and the Soviet Union, three months after the end of the Winter War, and a year before the Continuation War began. A few minutes after taking off in Tallinn, Kaleva was intercepted by two Soviet Ilyushin DB-3T torpedo bombers. The bombers opened fire with their machine guns and badly damaged Kaleva, causing it to ditch in water a few kilometers northeast of Keri lighthouse. All nine passengers and crew members on board were killed.

[edit] PK-AFV

PK-AFV, also known as Pelikaan, was a Douglas DC-3 (Dakota) airliner operated by KLM from 1937 to 1942. On March 3, 1942, while on a flight from Bandung, Netherlands East Indies, to Broome, Australia, the plane was attacked by three Japanese Mitsubishi A6M fighter planes; PK-AFV crash-landed on a beach near Broome. Four passengers were killed. Among its cargo were diamonds worth at the time an estimated –150,000-300,000 (now an approximate A$20'40 million), and the vast majority of these were lost or stolen following the crash. This mystery remains officially unsolved.

[edit] BOAC Flight 777

BOAC Flight 777, a scheduled British Overseas Airways Corporation civilian airline flight on 1 June 1943 from Portela Airport in Lisbon, Portugal to Bristol (Whitchurch) Airport near Bristol, United Kingdom, was attacked by eight German Junkers Ju 88s and crashed into the Bay of Biscay, killing several notable passengers, including actor Leslie Howard.

[edit] 1950s

[edit] Cathay Pacific VR-HEU

Cathay Pacific VR-HEU, a four-engined propeller-driven Douglas Douglas C-54 Skymaster airliner operated by Cathay Pacific Airways,[2] en route from Bangkok to Hong Kong on 23 July 1954, was shot down by Chinese Communist Lavochkin La-7 fighters off the coast of Hainan Island, killing 10 on board.[3][4][5]

[edit] El Al Flight 402

El Al Flight 402, a Lockheed L-049 Constellation pressurized four-engine propliner, registered 4X-AKC, was an international passenger flight from Vienna, Austria to Tel Aviv, Israel via Istanbul, Turkey, on July 27, 1955. The aircraft strayed into Bulgarian airspace and was shot down by two Bulgarian MiG-15 jet fighters; it crashed near Petrich, Bulgaria. All 7 crew and 51 passengers on board the airliner were killed.[6][7]

[edit] 1970s

[edit] Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114

Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114 was a regularly-scheduled flight from Tripoli to Cairo via Benghazi. At 10:30 on February 21, 1973, the 727-224 left Tripoli, but became lost due to a combination of bad weather and equipment failure over northern Egypt around 13:44 (1:44 P.M. local). Lost, it entered Israeli-controlled airspace over the Sinai Peninsula, was intercepted by two Israeli F-4 Phantom IIs and shot down after refusing to follow signals from the Israeli pilots. There were 113 people on board, of those there were 5 survivors, including the co-pilot.[8][9]

[edit] Korean Air Lines Flight 902

Korean Air Lines Flight 902 (KAL902, KE902) was a civilian airliner shot down by Soviet Sukhoi Su-15 fighters on April 20, 1978 near Murmansk, after it violated Soviet airspace and failed to respond to Soviet interceptors. Two passengers were killed in the incident. 107 passengers and crew survived after the plane made an emergency landing on a frozen lake.

[edit] Air Rhodesia Flight RH825

Air Rhodesia Flight RH825, was a scheduled flight between Kariba and Salisbury that was shot down on 3 September 1978 by ZIPRA guerrillas using a Strela 2 missile. 18 of the 56 passengers survived the crash, but 10 of the survivors were summarily executed by the guerrillas at the crash site.

[edit] Air Rhodesia Flight RH827

Air Rhodesia Flight RH827 was a scheduled flight between Kariba and Salisbury that was shot down on February 12, 1979 by ZIPRA guerrillas using a Strela 2 missile in similar circumstances to Flight RH825 five months earlier. None of the 59 passengers or crew survived.

[edit] 1980s

[edit] Aerolinee Itavia Flight 870

Aerolinee Itavia Flight 870 crashed in the Tyrrhenian Sea on June 27, 1980. Around 40 minutes after take off from Bologna, Italy; an unknown object was seen approaching the aircraft and soon after, the plane disappeared from the screens. All 81 people on board were killed and parts of the wreckage were floating on the water. The cause of the crash is unknown, but one of the leading theories suspect that it was shot down by NATO forces or jet fighters. This is supported by the then President Francesco Cossiga, who attributed the downing to French interceptors, later covered by Gladio secret services [1]

[edit] Korean Air Lines Flight 007

Korean Air Lines Flight 007, also known as KAL 007 or KE007, was a Korean Air Lines Boeing 747 civilian airliner shot down by a Soviet Su-15TM fighter on September 1, 1983 near Moneron Island just west of Sakhalin island. 269 passengers and crew, including US congressman Larry McDonald, were aboard KAL 007; there were no known survivors. It may have been caused by a failure of air navigation, although alternate theories have also been proposed.

[edit] Polar 3

On 24 February 1985, the Polar 3, a research airplane of the Alfred Wegener Institute, was shot down by guerrillas of the Polisario Front over West Sahara. All three crew members died. Polar 3 was on its way back from Antarctica and had taken off in Dakar, Senegal, to reach Arrecife, Canary Islands.[10]

[edit] Iran Air Flight 655

Iran Air Flight 655 (IR655) was a commercial flight operated by Iran Air that flew from Bandar Abbas, Iran to Dubai, UAE. On Sunday July 3, 1988, towards the end of the Iran Iraq War, the aircraft flying IR655 was shot down by the U.S. Navy Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes between Bandar Abbas and Dubai, killing all 290 passengers and crew. Vincennes was inside Iranian territorial waters, at the time of the attack and IR655 was within Iranian airspace.

[edit] 1990s

[edit] September 1993 Transair Georgian Airline Shootdowns

In September, 1993, three airliners belonging to Transair Georgia were shot down by missiles and gunfire fired from rebels in Sukhumi, Abkhazia, Georgia.

[edit] Lionair Flight LN 602

Lionair Flight LN 602, operated by an Antonov An-24RV, fell into the sea off the north-western coast of Sri Lanka under mysterious circumstances on 29 September 1998. The aircraft departed Jaffna-Palaly Air Force Base on a flight to Colombo and disappeared from radar screens just after the pilot had reported depressurization. Initial reports indicated that the plane had been shot down by Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels. All 7 crew and 48 passengers were killed.[citation needed] [11]

[edit] 2000s

[edit] Siberia Airlines Flight 1812

On October 4, 2001, a Tupolev Tu-154 operated by Siberia Airlines en route from Tel Aviv (Israel) to Novosibirsk (Russia) was shot down over the Black Sea by Ukrainian air defence forces. There were 12 crew and 66 passengers aboard; all were killed.

[edit] 2003 Baghdad DHL attempted shootdown incident

On 22 November 2003, shortly after takeoff from Baghdad, Iraq, an Airbus A300 cargo plane owned by European Air Transport ("DHL") was struck on the left wing tip by a surface-to-air missile. Severe wing damage resulted in a fire and complete loss of hydraulic flight control systems. The pilots used differential engine thrust to fly the plane back to Baghdad, and were able to land without any injuries or major aircraft damage. This was the second time a plane had been landed after entirely losing hydraulics and using differential engine thrust as the only pilot input but it was the first time it had been done without injury or additional significant damage to the aircraft.

[edit] 2007 Balad aircraft crash

On January 9, 2007 an Antonov An-26 crashed while attempting a landing at Balad Air Base in Iraq. Although poor weather is blamed by officials, witnesses claim they saw the plane being shot down, and a terrorist group has claimed responsibility. 34 of the 35 civilian passengers on board were killed.

[edit] 2007 Mogadishu TransAVIAexport Airlines Il-76 crash

On March 23, 2007, a TransAVIAexport Airlines Ilyushin Il-76 airplane crashed in outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia, during the 2007 Battle of Mogadishu. Witnesses, including a Shabelle reporter, claim they saw the plane shot down, and Belarus has initiated an anti-terrorist investigation, but Somalia insists the crash was accidental. All 11 Belarussian civilians on board were killed.

[edit] References

  1. ^ Virtualpilots - Tapauskaleva. Retrieved on 30-1-2007.
  2. ^ ASN Aircraft accident Douglas C-54A-10-DC VR-HEU Hainan Island - Aviation Safety Network
  3. ^ Accident details - VR-HEU - Plane Crash Info
  4. ^ VR-HEU Account by passenger: Valerie Parish - Major Commercial Airline Disasters
  5. ^ VR-HEU - The Life & Times of James Harper
  6. ^ "ASN record". http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19550727-0. 
  7. ^ "Through the Curtain". Time Magazine. August 8, 1955. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,807400,00.html. 
  8. ^ http://www.airsafe.com/events/models/b727.htm List of 727 incidents.
  9. ^ Aerial intrusions by Civil and Military Aircraft in a Time of Peace Phelps, John Maj. Military Law Review Vol 107 Winter 1985 Page 288
  10. ^ Aviation safety network - Report on Polar 3 accessed: 18 April 2009
  11. ^ Aviation Safety Network retrieved 23 November 2006

[edit] See also

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