The history of fatal mistakes: accidentally shot down passenger Airliners

Passenger Boeing-737 of airline “Ukraine International airlines” (UIA) performing on Wednesday, 8 January, a flight from Tehran to Kiev, crashed a few minutes after departure. The tragedy happened shortly after Iran fired missiles at us bases in neighboring Iraq, writes the BBC.

История роковых ошибок: случайно сбитые пассажирские авиалайнеры

Photo: Depositphotos

A few days later, Iran admitted that the airliner was shot down by its armed forces by mistake.

Cases of destruction of civilian aircraft by the military, who took them for military or intelligence, have repeatedly occurred. Russian service Bi-bi-si resembles the most famous of them.

1973: a Boeing 727 in Egypt

The Boeing 727-224 Libyan company Libyan Arab Airlines crashed near the city of Ismailia in Egypt. This happened as a result of attack of fighters of the Israeli air force.

The plane carried out the flight Tripoli — Benghazi — Cairo — Alexandria — Bahrain. On Board were nine crew members and 104 passengers. In the accident survived the second pilot and four passengers.

The ship was about to land in Cairo airport, but due to difficulties with navigation, the aircraft strayed off course and was unable to find the landing beacon. Boeing was on the territory of the Sinai Peninsula, occupied at that time by Israel.

The plane spotted by radar, went to him, the Israeli fighters. They fired warning shots and showed them to the plane that needs to land, but the pilot of civil aircraft misread the signals and approaching the airfield, which he was ordered to sit down, took course to the West, which was interpreted as an attempt to leave Israeli-controlled airspace.

The Israeli command decided that the plane was hijacked and ordered to open fire. The fighters fired on the plane a few bursts of guns. The pilots made an emergency landing in the desert, and the plane crashed into the dune. Killed 108 people, survived five, including the co-pilot.

Israel argued that the decision of command that the security situation on the Peninsula were heightened, and the crew of the airliner acted ambiguously.

As later told the surviving pilot, that the ship was over the Sinai Peninsula, the crew realized a few minutes before the attack, but landing to do so was due to the complex relations between Libya and Israel.

30 member countries of the International civil aviation organization voted for condemnation of Israel. The Israeli authorities later paid the families of the victims compensation.

1978: Boeing 707 in Karelia

April 20, 1978, Soviet troops shot down the plane airlines Korean Air flying on the route Paris — anchorage — Seoul. Off course due to errors in navigation, the aircraft appeared over the Kola Peninsula, in violation of the air border of the USSR.

It took over an intelligence ship. The pilot of the fighter-interceptor su-15 flew to the Board and reported that the plane was civilian. He did not believe, and gave orders for the destruction of the aircraft. The fighter fired a missile “air-air”, damaging the engine and the wing liner, after which he was forced to land on the ice of lake Korpijärvi in Karelia.

According to the testimony of the captain of the ship, the interceptor approached the plane on the right side, not left as required by the rules of the International civil aviation organization. The captain claimed to have lowered the speed and turned on the navigation lights, indicating that he is ready to follow the Soviet fighter for landing.

According to Soviet reports, the crew of the aircraft repeatedly failed to respond to requests from the ground, and then signals to the landing.

The shelling killed two passengers: Japanese and Korean. The remaining 95 passengers along with 12 crew members after a short stay in the Karelian town of Kem moved to Helsinki, where they flew with the bodies of the victims.

Nine days later after the incident, the commander of the vessel and the Navigator was also able to fly out of the country. As reported TASS then, they admitted to violating Soviet airspace and ignoring the order of the aircraft interceptor to land, and addressed a petition for clemency to the Presidium of the Supreme Council, which met its and expelled them from the Soviet Union.

Pilots after the expulsion from the Soviet Union stated that it did not ask for pardon.

The USSR put South Korea account for 100 thousand U.S. dollars (today, this amount is equivalent to about 392 thousands of U.S. dollars) for the passenger service. This account was never paid. South Korea did not show any claims of the USSR; between them at that time did not have diplomatic relations.

The damaged aircraft the Korean company to take did not become. In the end it was dismantled and left in the USSR.

1983: a Boeing 747 over Sakhalin

The Korean Air plane was shot down over Soviet territory in 1983. The Boeing 747 was flying from new York- anchorage — Seoul on Board were 23 crew members and 246 passengers.

For some unknown reason the plane instead to fly over the neutral waters of the Pacific ocean, began to deviate to the right of the course. It is believed that this occurred due to the incorrect installation of the autopilot. The ship flew over Kamchatka and then over the island of Sakhalin. There he was intercepted by a Soviet fighter su-15.

This happened during the night. The crew of the aircraft did not respond to warning shots from a gun Board. The fighter pilot later recalled that he didn’t have tracer rounds that leave a vivid and well-marked trail. So had to shoot the ordinary that the crew of the liner could simply ignore.

In the end, the command gave the order to shoot down the plane and interceptor fired two missiles. The ship crashed into the waters of the sea of Japan near Moneron island West of Sakhalin. Killing all passengers and crew members. Among them was a member of the U.S. house of representatives Larry McDonald.

The remains of the victims almost never found; divers found several pairs of shoes and personal belongings, as well as fragments of several bodies that could not be identified.

The Politburo said it was a deliberate provocation by the US, which supposedly wanted to test the combat readiness of the Soviet air defense system or even provoke a military action. The U.S. responded by accusing the Soviet Union of interfering with search and rescue operations.

This incident was one of the most tense moments of the cold war. He caused a further deterioration in relations between the USSR and Western countries.

U.S. President Ronald Reagan then said that he developed originally for military purposes of the global navigation satellite system GPS becomes available to civilians as soon as it is finalized. The United States began to launch a variety of new experimental satellites to test the system.

1988: A300 over the Persian Gulf

In 1988 disaster with a large number of victims (290 people) occurred over the Persian Gulf. This is the massive loss of passengers in the history of the incidents involving the Airbus A300.

Aircraft airline Iran Air flew on the route Tehran — Bandar Abbas- Dubai. Seven minutes after take-off from Bandar Abbas, one flew over the Persian Gulf, he was shot down by a missile fired from the U.S. missile cruiser Vincennes.

The US government said that Iran Air airliner mistakenly identified as an F-14 air force of Iran. According to the American side, the crew of the cruiser took ten attempts to contact the aircraft on military and civilian radio frequencies, but received no response.

The Iranian government maintained that the Vincennes knowingly attacked a flight. According to Iran, the plane has submitted signals in a mode that identified it as a civilian vessel, but not used by the Iranian air force.

This event caused a lot of criticism in the United States. Many were especially critical of the captain of the cruiser William Rogers for aggressive action in a tense and dangerous situation. Ronald Reagan sent the Iranian government a diplomatic note expressing its deep regret about the incident.

Only in 1996 the US government and Iran reached agreement regarding the crash in the International court of justice. The decision stated that “the United States recognized the aerial incident of 3 July 1988 a terrible human tragedy and expressed deep regret at the death of people.”

Despite the fact that the U.S. government did not recognize their legal responsibility, they voluntarily agreed to pay 61.8 million dollars compensation to the families of the Iranian victims.

To the question posed in the documentary film bi-Bi-si in 2000, the US government has in writing stated that, in their opinion, the incident could have happened due to the psychological state of eighteen members of the crew of the cruiser called “the script”. This happens when people are under pressure.

In this situation the crew will carry out a training scenario, believing that it is real. And will ignore information that contradicts the scenario. In this case, the scenario was the attack of a single military aircraft.

2001: a Tu-154 over the Black sea

October 4, 2001 Tu-154 of airline “Siberia” was supposed to fly to Novosibirsk from tel Aviv, but after an hour and 45 minutes after takeoff and fell into the Black sea. All 78 people on Board were killed, they were mostly Israeli citizens.

According to the conclusion of the Interstate aviation Committee (IAC), the aircraft was inadvertently shot down by anti-aircraft missile complex s-200. It start the service of air defense of Ukraine during the Russian-Ukrainian military exercises on the Crimean Peninsula.

Due to the events of 11 September in the United States initially considered version of the attack. Ukrainian military officials initially denied that their missile had brought down the plane. They explained that the direction and range of missiles do not correspond to the point at which the plane exploded. But after a few days of the disaster, Ukraine has pleaded guilty.

Defense Minister Oleksandr Kuzmuk apologised to the families and friends of the victims. However, he said: “We know that those involved in the tragedy, though its cause to the end is not yet established”.

According to the conclusion of the investigation and the IAC, which ended in 2004, the Tu-154 was hit by a rocket, exploded 15 meters above the body of the aircraft. It was established that it started in the area of Feodosia. There at the time were exercises of air defense forces of Ukraine.

Ukraine in 2003 signed with Russia and Israel intergovernmental agreement on the compensation to relatives of those killed in the crash. She paid 200 thousand dollars for each victim — 7.8 million from Russia and $ 7.5 million to Israel.

Kyiv did not admit guilt in a plane crash legally. Various courts of Ukraine have repeatedly denied the airline “Siberia” in compensation. The last time the litigation was in 2012: then the appellate courts upheld the trial court’s decision, which did not recognize the guilt of the Ukrainian military in the crash of the aircraft.

Representatives of the airline stated its intention to appeal to the European court of human rights, however, did not. Her financial claims were not satisfied.

2014: the Boeing 777 in the East of Ukraine

In 2014, the sky over Eastern Ukraine crashed Boeing 777 Malaysia Airlines, EN route flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

On Board were 298 people. They all died. Most of the passengers on Board were Dutch nationals. Was killed the citizens of Australia, Malaysia, UK, Belgium, Canada, Indonesia, Germany, New Zealand and the Philippines.

October 13, 2015 the Commission of the security Council of the Netherlands, which was investigating the causes of the crash of the airliner, has published a report stating that the plane was shot down by a missile of class “air-ground” fired from a Buk missile system.

According to the Commission, launcher “Buk”, from which the plane was shot down, was taken to the zone of armed conflict in the East of Ukraine from Russia.

In may 2018 Joint investigation group (CIG) issued a report which stated that the missile fired at the aircraft, could be delivered from the Russian military unit stationed at Kursk.

After the announcement of this conclusion, the Netherlands and Australia officially blamed Russia for the plane crash.

A joint investigation team (JIT) on June 19 last year issued a report calling the names of the four suspects of involvement in the missile launch system “Buk”.

According to investigators, the crash Boeing may be involved in Sergey Dubinsky, a retired officer of the GRU of the Russian army, Mr Pulatov, Lieutenant Colonel of the airborne troops of Russia, Leonid Kharchenko, a Ukrainian citizen, the commander of the reconnaissance unit of the self-proclaimed “DNR” Igor Girkin (Shooters), a citizen of Russia, who fought on the Donbass.

All four declared on the international wanted list and the case will be submitted to the Dutch court. The first court session will be held on March 9, 2020.

Russia has consistently rejected accusations of involvement in the crash Boeing. As stated by the Kremlin, Russia has no reason to trust the results of the investigation because it did not allow full investigation. The defense Ministry says the missiles that shot down the Malaysia Airlines plane belonged to Ukrainian military units.