mid-air collision near Delhi

Date:         12 Nov 96 13:58:52 
From:         kls@ohare.Chicago.COM (Karl Swartz)
Organization: Chicago Software Works, Menlo Park, California
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A Saudi Arabian Airlines Boeing 747 departing New Delhi, India,
collided with a Kazakstan Airlines (Kazair) aircraft in mid-air at
640p local time on Tuesday.  The Saudi plane, flight 763 bound for
Dharhan and Jeddah, was carrying 289 passengers and 23 crew.
Kazair flight 1907, from Chimkent, Kazahkstan, was carrying 27
passengers and 10 crew people plus cargo.

Reports vary on whether the Kazair plane was a Tupolev-154 or an
Ilyushin-76.  Kazair has both types, but their Tu-154s are passen-
ger configs (perhaps the cargo was just the usual belly cargo)
while their Il-76s are freighters.  UPI reported it was a charter
"being used as a cargo plane to carry so-called shuttle traders,
who fly back and forth from Central Asia to India with large
quantities of goods to sell at a profit back home," with Kazair
officials attributed as the source.  Perhaps they'd use a freighter
in those ciscumstances.  Initial reports said that all 349 people
were feared dead.  One report says at least four survivors were
found, though three subsequently died.

The collision took place as the Saudi plane had been cleared to
climb to 14,000 ft, while the Kazair plane was cleared to descend
to 15,000 ft.  It's unclear which one of the flights, or both,
deviated from its clearance, though allegations have already been
made that its due to the Kazair plane having metric instruments.
(Never mind that they don't even know if the Kazair plane was in
the wrong place yet -- facts can wait.  <sigh>)

Reports vary on the exact location of the crash.  CNN and UPI say
near Charkha Dadri, a town of 50,000 about 40-60 miles west of Delhi,
while the BBC apparently is saying it was near Tiken, a village 40
miles southwest of Delhi.  I assume they're close -- I don't have a
sufficiently detailedmap of India.

It seems likely that this will be the worst mid-air collision to
date -- I believe the previous worst was the September 25, 1978
collison of a PSA 727 and a Cessna over San Diego, in which 182
died, including 11 on the ground.

Karl Swartz	|Home	kls@chicago.com
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Moderator of sci.aeronautics.airliners -- Unix/network work pays the bills