The Story Of The 1976 Zagreb Mid-Air Collision
This very day, September 10, 46 years in the past in 1976, British Airways Flight 476, en path to Istanbul, Turkey, from London, collided midair with a Douglas DC-9 operated by Inex-Adria Aviopromet that was en route from Cut up to Cologne in what was then West Germany. In complete, all 176 folks aboard the 2 plane have been killed. On the time, it was the world’s deadliest mid-air collision and remains to be the worst aviation catastrophe in Croatian historical past.
The four-year-old British Airways Hawker Siddeley Trident plane with the registration G-AWZT was working a repeatedly scheduled flight from London Heathrow Airport (LHR) to Istanbul-Yesilköy Airport (IST) in Turkey. The second plane concerned within the incident was a two-year-old McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 with the registration YU-AJR carrying German vacationers residence from their holidays on the Dalmatian coast.
Each captains have been skilled pilots
Accountable for British Airways Flight 476 have been 44-year-old Captain Dennis Tann, First Officer Brian Helm, and Flight Engineer Martin Flin. The Inex-Adria Aviopromet McDonnell Douglas DC-9 was captained by 51-year-old Jože Krumpak, an skilled pilot with 10,157 flying hours, and First Officer Dušan Ivanuš.
British Airways Flight 476 departed London Heathrow Airport at 08:32 UTC with 54 passengers and 9 crew. Inex-Adria Flight 550 departed Cut up Airport at 09:48 UTC with 108 passengers and 5 crew. Each flights have been continuing easily till they entered Zagreb airspace and got here beneath the management of Zagreb Ait Site visitors Management (ATC). The Zagreb VOR was a reporting level for a lot of busy airways between northern and southeastern Europe and the Center East
Zagreb ATC was one of many busiest ATC facilities on this planet
Regardless of being significantly understaffed and under-equipped through the mid-Seventies, Zagreb ATC was one of many busiest on this planet. The airspace managed by Zagreb ATC was divided into three sections:
- Plane flying under 25,000 ft
- Plane flying between 25,000 ft and 31,000 ft
- Plane flying above 31,000 ft
After crossing the Austrian border into what was then Yugoslavia, BA Flight 476 established radio contact with Zagreb ATC, talking with the higher management sector controller Gradimir Tasić. At 10:42 UTC, BA476 radioed to say that they have been cruising at 33,000 ft and anticipated to succeed in Zagreb VOR at 10:14. The controller informed the BA flight to pick out transponder code 2312 and to name once more after they reached the VOR.
Because it turned out, this was the final ever communication with the airplane.
Similtaneously the BA flight was speaking to the upper-level controller, the DC-9 captain contacted the mid-level controller, Bojan Erjavecto, requesting permission for a better flight stage. On the time, the plane was cruising at 26,000 ft. Each flight ranges, 28,000 ft and 31,000 ft, have been occupied by different plane leaving solely 35,000 ft accessible, which Captain Krumpak agreed to.
To climb to the upper altitude, it was essential to obtain permission from the ATC controller in command of the higher stage. Erjavec waved his hand to get Tasić’s consideration, however the upper-level controller was too busy to note. Ultimately, issues have been sorted out, and the DC-9 was permitted to climb to a better stage.
All of the sudden realizing that there was a hazard of a collision between the DC-9 and the Trident, Tasić instructed the DC-9 to cease climbing and, panicking, reverted to his Serbo-Croatian native tongue fairly than utilizing English, as was the process. Due to this, the British Airways captain would have had no concept what was being stated, and no clue concerning the imminent hazard his flight was in. By the point Flight JP550 leveled off, it was at 33,000 ft, precisely the identical because the British Airways plane.
Each plane collided at 10:14, and 30 seconds later, Tasić tried to name BA476 and instruct it to report passing the subsequent waypoint at Našice. The decision went unanswered.
The captain of a Lufthansa 737 witnessed the collision
In the meantime, a Lufthansa Boeing 737 flying eastbound at 29,000 ft 15 miles behind the Trident noticed what it thought was a lightning strike, after which two plane plummeting in the direction of the bottom. The Lufthansa captain instantly reported what he had witnessed to the mid-level ATC controller. The 2 planes had collided close to the city of Vrbovec, northeast of Zagreb, killing all passengers and crew.
All of the ATC controllers on obligation have been taken by the police for interrogation and later launched aside from Tasić, who remained in custody till the trial. Following the trial, Tasić was the one one to be discovered responsible and obtained a sentence of seven years in jail. ATC controllers all through Yugoslavia petitioned on his behalf, saying that he was made a scapegoat. On November 28, 1978, he was launched from jail after serving two years and three months in jail.