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[History] KAL 707 attacked by USSR, belly landed on frozen lake


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#1 Denny Yen

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 09:44 AM

These pics first emerged in 2008 after 30 years in ex-USSR archives. Maybe the older members of MW recall this incident...pilots still managed to save the a/c even after shrapnels damaged fuselage and wings. And this happened at the height of Cold War, the Soviets could've just made everyone "dissapear" or jailed the crew.

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On April 20, 1978 a KAL 707 flying from Paris to Seoul strayed into Soviet airspace and made an emergency landing on a frozen lake after being damaged by a Russian missile. 2 died and 14 were injured as a result.

  • The plane was so far of course that had they not been shot down (forced down), they would have run out of fuel over the north pole far from any airports. So an even worse disaster may have been averted
  • This crash directly led to the KAL 007 shoot down
  • The KAL 707 was over Soviet airspace for 3-4 hours before it was noticed
  • At least 2 people in the Soviet airforce were executed because the plane was allowed to stay over the Soviet Union for so long.
  • Soviets sent a bill to the Govt of ROK, to pay for housing and feeding the passengers.
  • The bill was never paid.

On April 20-th 1978 in the region of Kola Peninsula Soviet border was crossed by the passenger Boeing-707-321B (HL7429) Korean Air Lines (KAL) Flight 902 (Paris - Anchorage - Seoul) that was out of its normal route.

The plane was initially recognized by Soviet anti-aircraft defense radars as Boeing-747. Anti-aircraft missiles were prepared ready to strike and interceptor Sukhoy-15TM ("Flegon-F") led by Captain Bosov was sent to intercept the intruder.

According to words of liner commander Kim Chang Ky, the interceptor approached his plane from the right side (the ICAO rules demand that it such cases the interceptor should approach intruder from the left side). Kim Chang Ky declared that he lessened plane speed and switched on landing lights, that meant that he was ready to follow the interceptor for forced landing. Attempts of the Boeing commander to contact with the interceptor on 121.5 MHz were fixed by Rovaniemi (Finland) airport control tower. Soviet official statment was that the plane did not follow the demand for forced landing.

When the interceptor pilot reported that the intruder was boeing-707 and not 747 as it was recognized initially, Soviet command decided that it was electronic spy RC-135 (built on 707 base) and issued an order to eliminate the target.

According the American radio interception Flegon-F pilot for several minutes tried to convince his superiors to cancel the attack, as he had seen already KAL logo on the liner, but after additional order launched two rockets P-60. One of them missed the target but another one exploded, taking off part of the left wing and caused air pressure fall. Two passengers were killed by splinters.

Due to air pressure fall the plane abruptly went down and was lost by Soviet anti-aircraft defense radars. The interceptor pilot also lost it in the clouds.

During the next hour the shot Flight 902 crossed the whole Kola peninsula on the level height, trying to find landing place, and, after several unsuccessful attempts in the evening dusk landed on the ice of Korpijärvi lake, already on Karelian territory. During all this time Soviet anti-aircraft defense did not have any information about the destiny and position of the shot liner.

The USSR refused to coöperate with the international experts in the incident investigation and refused to present "Black Boxes" data. The plane was dismantled and taken away from the lake by parts.

Much later, when the secrecy mist was taken away, the "Black Boxes" data was analyzed and flight map was published. This map shows that on Amsterdam - Anchorage part of the route soon after reaching the Island the plane started wide smooth turn to the right. The turn was too smooth to be intentional and it could be caused only by malfunctioning of navigation equipment.

"Korean Boeings Killer" Sukhoy-15TM was the main actor again in the night from August 31-st to September 1-st when it shot down KAL Boeing 747 Flight 007 New-York - Anchorage - Seoul that also was out of it's course.



#2 Nik H.

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 10:02 AM

Same situation, same damage circumstances; if it happened to an Airbus, especially A320 onwards, the airplane would have gone down in flames. Similarly if it was a B777. Less so if it was a B747.

The Boeing 707 can take some serious damage to the airframe before it becomes uncontrollable. In fact, almost all big planes pre B707 were built the same way, and hence more robust than what we have in our skies now.

Then economists and accountants screwed this technical philosophy up.

#3 Denny Yen

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 10:59 AM

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http://www.time.com/...,919607,00.html

http://www.time.com/...,919554,00.html

#4 Tamizi Hj Tamby

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 11:02 AM

Thanks for sharing this info,Denny.I only knew about the KAL 007;totally forget about this incident.

Don't forget the bombing of KAL 858 by two North Korean agents in 1987,where one of the bomber,Kim Hyon-hui is now living in South Korea under total protection by the government.

#5 S V Choong

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 01:42 PM

Korean Boeing was shot down in Karelia, Russia in 1978, with a lot of civil passengers on-board. The pilots of the plane had mysteriously altered the route so that came deep inside Russian territory. Two and a half hours they were escorted by Russian jet fighters not responding to any radio contact or visual contact attempts. At last the Soviet military commanders ordered to shoot the plane down with as much accuracy as they could do. The jet plane of Russian army hit the Boeing with a missile cutting off the piece of its wing, so the Korean plane had to land after this. Two passengers were killed others got wounds as a result of an extremely fast landing to the frozen Russian lake in Karelia, Russia near Kem’ town. The first Russian military police group arrived in two hours to the landing site. They tell that when they entered the plane the strong smell of “blood, alcohol and human fecal masses” hit into their noses. Afterwards the passengers spent three days in the Kem’ town, Karelia, Russia and were send to Helsinki, Finland on the plane on the fourth day. The crew was taken to Moscow and was questioned there, but later they returned to Korea. The plane itself was disassembled to smallest parts and sent to Russian airplane producing factories and research centers, meanwhile the soldiers guarding the site had the first chance in their life to taste Coca-Cola or canned beer and even to read some Playboy. It was something they never met before in the country beneath the iron curtain.


Source: http://englishrussia...=1961#more-1961

#6 Walter Sim

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 02:24 PM

why did the plane go off course?

#7 S V Choong

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 02:47 PM

why did the plane go off course?

"The turn was too smooth to be intentional and it could be caused only by malfunctioning of navigation equipment"

#8 Loh Wilson

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 03:08 PM

I read from somewhere that after this incident, the president of the United States gave the permisson that GPS system is available for civilians.

#9 S V Choong

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 03:14 PM

I read from somewhere that after this incident, the president of the United States gave the permisson that GPS system is available for civilians.

Not after this incident, but it was the next one, Flight 007, a Korean Air B747-200 that was shot down and destroyed in the same year but some months later.

#10 Mohd Suhaimi Fariz

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 06:05 PM

The people on board this flight was very lucky that they managed to return back to their country. The passengers on board KAL 007 wasn't so lucky. But could there have been survivors on board KAL 007? Some said it's possible. The lack of bodies recovered is often pointed as one of the evidence of that fact.

#11 C.Foo

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 07:04 PM

I'm curious Just howcome a b707 can last then a 777

Same situation, same damage circumstances; if it happened to an Airbus, especially A320 onwards, the airplane would have gone down in flames. Similarly if it was a B777. Less so if it was a B747.

The Boeing 707 can take some serious damage to the airframe before it becomes uncontrollable. In fact, almost all big planes pre B707 were built the same way, and hence more robust than what we have in our skies now.

Then economists and accountants screwed this technical philosophy up.



#12 Rozhan

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 02:00 AM

Sometime in the 1980s, a Cessna landed near Red Square... of all places! I suppose it was the greatest breach of Soviet airspace. Lucky for the pilot he was not shot down.

#13 H Azmal

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 05:24 AM

[OT] Speaking about KAL 007, Wikipedia lists the breakdown of the nationality of the people onboard. There was a Malaysian. Any details?

#14 Mohd Suhaimi Fariz

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 01:17 PM

[OT] Speaking about KAL 007, Wikipedia lists the breakdown of the nationality of the people onboard. There was a Malaysian. Any details?


He's Siow Woon Kwang, a 23 year old graduate from Muar who's returning home after completing his studies in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science in America. Of course, back then MAS didn't fly to America.

#15 Azreen

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 02:01 PM

I'm curious Just howcome a b707 can last then a 777


Sir - i dont quite understand your question? Can u elaborate.

#16 H Azmal

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 02:04 PM

Sir - i dont quite understand your question? Can u elaborate.


I think he was referring to Capt. Nik's statement - how can a 707 outlast a 777 in the event of an attack on the structure?

THanks for the information, Suhaimi. Was the victim known to you?

Edited by H Azmal, 24 August 2009 - 02:06 PM.


#17 Timothy

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 02:56 PM

I'm curious Just howcome a b707 can last then a 777


i'm no expert, but I would say its down to the tolerances they built into an aircraft.

With computer simulation and advanced calculation techniques, modern airliners are built with precision (efficient & saves material cost) so these aircraft would only stand up to what the designers think is a worst case scenario eg:heavy storms, multiple lighting strikes etc

before the 80's , engineers probably over built airplanes. strengthening it beyond what was necessary to increase investor confidence. (back then, people would still hold their breath on a plane's maiden flight, wondering if it would really fly :P)

#18 C.Foo

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 05:21 PM

There is a reason why I quoted Capt Nik post so people can understand

Sir - i dont quite understand your question? Can u elaborate.


  • S V Choong likes this

#19 S V Choong

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 08:10 PM

There is a reason why I quoted Capt Nik post so people can understand

I think he had difficulty with the way you worded your question (most of us did, I assumed), but Azmal cleared this up. :good:

#20 Mohd Suhaimi Fariz

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 08:04 AM

[quote name='H Azmal' date='24 August 2009 - 02:04 PM' timestamp='1251093848' post='236519'
THanks for the information, Suhaimi. Was the victim known to you?
[/quote]

Nah, I wasn't even born yet back then, but if you google his name, you'll find documents of parliament proceedings where Lim Kit Siang called upon the banning of Aeroflot in retaliation to the KAL 007 accident.




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