cumulus
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117 Die In Air India 707 Crash 31 Years Ago Today.

Wed Jan 24, 2007 6:08 pm

Never heard of this one. 707 crashed near Mont Blanc.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/d...uary/24/newsid_4056000/4056551.stm


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Photo © Peter Tancred


[Edited 2007-01-24 10:10:24]
What Goes Up Must Come Down, Hopefully In One Piece!
 
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OA260
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RE: 117 Die In Air India 707 Crash 31 Years Ago Today.

Wed Jan 24, 2007 6:33 pm

Hmm I never heard of this one also. What was the official report/cause?? Did they ever find out ???
 
BCAL
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RE: 117 Die In Air India 707 Crash 31 Years Ago Today.

Wed Jan 24, 2007 7:23 pm

Quoting OA260 (Reply 1):
What was the official report/cause?



Quote:
PROBABLE CAUSE: "The commission concluded that the most likely hypothesis was the following: a) The pilot-in-command, who knew on leaving Beirut that one of the VORs was unserviceable, miscalculated his position in relation to Mont Blanc and reported his own estimate of this position to the controller; the radar controller noted the error, determined the position of the aircraft correctly and passed a communication to the aircraft which, he believed, would enable it to correct its position.; b) For want of a sufficiently precise phraseology, the correction was mis-understood by the pilot who, under the mistaken impression that he had passed the ridge leading to the summit and was still at a flight level which afforded sufficient safety clearance over the top of Mont Blanc, continued his descent."

Source: Aviation Safety Network

So the events leading up to the accident were
  • Flightcrew - Language/communication problems (also ATC)
  • Flightcrew - Navigational error
  • Result - Controlled flight into terrain - Hill, mountain
The accident was at the time the second worst accident involving a B707 (currently 9th) and second worst accident in France (currently 5th).

P.S. The registration of the aircraft was VT-DMN. The aircraft in the above photo is VT-DNZ

[Edited 2007-01-24 11:25:21]
MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."
 
cumulus
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RE: 117 Die In Air India 707 Crash 31 Years Ago Today.

Wed Jan 24, 2007 7:52 pm

Quoting BCAL (Reply 2):
The registration of the aircraft was VT-DMN. The aircraft in the above photo is VT-DNZ

I know, couldn't find a pic though!!! Looks the same!

Quote from BBC as per link (same as above roughly!):-

It is believed the most probable cause of the crash was that the pilot miscalculated his position as he was flying over Mont Blanc.
The radar controller picked up on the pilot's error and radioed back to ensure that he had corrected his position.

Unfortunately the correction was misunderstood by the captain who continued his descent after mistakenly thinking that he had passed the ridge leading to the summit.
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BCAL
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RE: 117 Die In Air India 707 Crash 31 Years Ago Today.

Wed Jan 24, 2007 8:32 pm

Quoting Cumulus (Reply 3):
I know, couldn't find a pic though!!! Looks the same!

True, at least VT-DNZ had RR Conway engines like VT-DMN. Many of Air India's other 707s were P&W powered.
MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."
 
gamps
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RE: 117 Die In Air India 707 Crash 31 Years Ago Today.

Wed Jan 24, 2007 8:52 pm

One of the victims included chairman of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission Dr Homi Jehangir Bhabha, who was on his way to Vienna.

There are still some conspiracy theories about this crash - considering it carried Indian nuclear scientist considered "father of India's nuclear program".
 
Gr8Circle
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RE: 117 Die In Air India 707 Crash 31 Years Ago Today.

Wed Jan 24, 2007 10:26 pm

Thanks for posting....however, the real time elapsed is 41 years since this accident occurred in 1966....

Quoting BCAL (Reply 2):
Flightcrew - Language/communication problems (also ATC)

Very unlikely that it was a language problem...AI pilots have always been well conversant in English....unless it was an ATC controller speaking French/German....
 
shankly
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RE: 117 Die In Air India 707 Crash 31 Years Ago Today.

Wed Jan 24, 2007 10:28 pm

...and not the first Air India aircraft to fly into Mt Blanc either:

http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19501103-0&lang=en
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BCAL
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RE: 117 Die In Air India 707 Crash 31 Years Ago Today.

Wed Jan 24, 2007 10:44 pm

Quoting Gr8Circle (Reply 6):
Very unlikely that it was a language problem...AI pilots have always been well conversant in English....unless it was an ATC controller speaking French/German....

Who knows exactly what happened?
  • The pilot, knowing the VOR was not in service, duly reported his position to ATC.
  • The ATC noted an error in position from the radar and informed the pilot of his correct position.
  • The correction was mis-understood by the pilot who, under the mistaken impression that he had passed the ridge leading to the summit and was still at a flight level which afforded sufficient safety clearance over the top of Mont Blanc, continued his descent.
The correction was misunderstood by the pilot. We will never know exactly why the pilot misunderstand the controller, but I think language/communication problem is the only way to cover all possibilities. I have never heard a transcript of tapes, and for all I know the pilot and ATC might have been conversing in a language other than English, or perhaps even there was a break in the communication from ATC to the pilot.
MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."
 
Gr8Circle
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RE: 117 Die In Air India 707 Crash 31 Years Ago Today.

Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:35 pm

Quoting BCAL (Reply 8):
The correction was misunderstood by the pilot. We will never know exactly why the pilot misunderstand the controller, but I think language/communication problem is the only way to cover all possibilities. I have never heard a transcript of tapes, and for all I know the pilot and ATC might have been conversing in a language other than English, or perhaps even there was a break in the communication from ATC to the pilot.

No offense, I understand what you are saying.....just want to correct the automatic impression that prevails about non-Euro / American pilots - that there is room for language problem.....only pointing out that in the case of Indian pilots, even back in the 60's, English was never a problem.....yes, communication, such as lack of interpreting the ATC instructions could always be a possibility....as you said, we'll never know.....
 
jaysit
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RE: 117 Die In Air India 707 Crash 31 Years Ago Today.

Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:41 pm

If you visit Chamonix, there is a small museum in which remnants of both the Air India Connie and the Boeing 707 are housed. This wreckage which includes the wheel of the Connie and cabin panels and an engine fan blade of the 707 are disgorged each year by the glaciers that move down Mont Blanc.

The museum also has a great amount of information about both crashes although the information is all in French, so at least a rudimentary grasp of the language is necessary. Apparently, the AI 707 slammed into a ridge on the north face of Mont Blanc at over 400 knots. Also, it was determined that had the 707 been 40 feet higher than it was at the time, the accident could have been avoided.

No conspiracy was found. This was purely a case of miscommunication between the GVA tower and the AI 707. Apparently, the tower thought that the 707 had already crossed the ridge when it asked it to descend.
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Gr8Circle
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RE: 117 Die In Air India 707 Crash 31 Years Ago Today.

Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:43 pm

Quoting Jaysit (Reply 10):
No conspiracy was found. This was purely a case of miscommunication between the GVA tower and the AI 707. Apparently, the tower thought that the 707 had already crossed the ridge when it asked it to descend.

So much so for language issues..... 

BTW, my dad flew on the same flight (different aircraft of course), exactly one week before this sad incident....

[Edited 2007-01-24 15:46:08]
 
ImperialEagle
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RE: 117 Die In Air India 707 Crash 31 Years Ago Today.

Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:48 pm

AI also had the bad luck to lose a Connie--------in almost the exact same spot!
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Vanguard
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RE: 117 Die In Air India 707 Crash 31 Years Ago Today.

Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:51 pm

I think one of these crashes featured in the book I studied at A-Level - "La neige en deuil' (The snow in mourning).................. can anyone confirm?
 
COEWR787
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RE: 117 Die In Air India 707 Crash 31 Years Ago Today.

Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:47 am

Quote:
117 Die In Air India 707 Crash 31 Years Ago Today.

Just to state the obvious, the crash was 41 years ago in 1966, not 31 years ago!

Quoting BCAL (Reply 2):
The registration of the aircraft was VT-DMN. The aircraft in the above photo is VT-DNZ

Yep, and the name of the aircraft was "Kanchanjungha"
 
jaysit
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RE: 117 Die In Air India 707 Crash 31 Years Ago Today.

Thu Jan 25, 2007 8:00 am

The Kanchenjunga (which incidentally is the world's 3rd highest mountain) was also the 707 that took Jackie Kennedy to India back in 1962. Makes for some interesting reading.

http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/m...04/14/stories/2002041400160400.htm

I remember seeing an old LIFE magazine I unearthed from my Grandpa's pile of old magazines that showed Jackie Kennedy alighting from this very plane.
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OB1783P
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RE: 117 Die In Air India 707 Crash 31 Years Ago Today.

Thu Jan 25, 2007 8:21 am

Quoting Vanguard (Reply 13):
I think one of these crashes featured in the book I studied at A-Level - "La neige en deuil' (The snow in mourning).................. can anyone confirm?

Hi Vanguard: you're absolutely right. Your French teacher would be proud. La Neige en Deuil is a French novel by Henry Troyat about two brothers who climb up a mountain to find a wrecked Indian airliner. The older brother thinks rescue, the younger one thinks loot. It's a good old fashioned novel. The book predates the 707 crash by a few years. It was probably inspired by the Connie crash. If I remember it right, it's quite sad: they find only a beautiful girl barely alive, wearing a diaphanous sari, and she dies on the way down.

There is a movie of it: THE MOUNTAIN, with Spencer Tracy and Robert Wagner, with a thirty year age difference, as the brothers. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049523/
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cbphoto
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RE: 117 Die In Air India 707 Crash 31 Years Ago Today.

Thu Jan 25, 2007 3:29 pm

I remember my Grandfather telling me he how he was at the crash scene of the 707 just after it happened as one of the representatives from AI. At the time he was a senior 707 Captain for AI. It was a very sad moment for him, as he lost some good friends on that flight and to think, it was 41 years ago today!!
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WA707atMSP
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RE: 117 Die In Air India 707 Crash 31 Years Ago Today.

Sat Jan 27, 2007 3:55 am

Quoting Jaysit (Reply 10):
If you visit Chamonix, there is a small museum in which remnants of both the Air India Connie and the Boeing 707 are housed. This wreckage which includes the wheel of the Connie and cabin panels and an engine fan blade of the 707 are disgorged each year by the glaciers that move down Mont Blanc.

The museum also has a great amount of information about both crashes although the information is all in French, so at least a rudimentary grasp of the language is necessary. Apparently, the AI 707 slammed into a ridge on the north face of Mont Blanc at over 400 knots. Also, it was determined that had the 707 been 40 feet higher than it was at the time, the accident could have been avoided.

No conspiracy was found. This was purely a case of miscommunication between the GVA tower and the AI 707. Apparently, the tower thought that the 707 had already crossed the ridge when it asked it to descend.

There's a great article about this museum, and the two crashes, in the April, 2005 issue of Airways. The article includes directions to the museum from Chamonix; the museum is only open in the summer.

If I ever make it back to GVA, I'd really like to visit the museum!
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irishmd11
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RE: 117 Die In Air India 707 Crash 31 Years Ago Today.

Sat Jan 27, 2007 6:56 am

Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 18):

There's a great article about this museum, and the two crashes, in the April, 2005 issue of Airways. The article includes directions to the museum from Chamonix; the museum is only open in the summer.

If I ever make it back to GVA, I'd really like to visit the museum!

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