Korean Air Flight 803

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Korean Air Flight 803
The aircraft involved in the accident, while still in service with Air Siam
Date27 July 1989 (1989-07-27)
SummaryPilot error in low visibility leading to Controlled Flight into Terrain
SiteOn approach to runway 27 at Tripoli International Airport in Tripoli, Libya
Total fatalities79
Aircraft typeMcDonnell Douglas DC-10-30
OperatorKorean Air
IATA flight No.KE803
ICAO flight No.KAL803
Call signKOREAN AIR 803
Flight originSeoul-Gimpo International Airport
1st stopoverBangkok-Don Mueang International Airport
Last stopoverJeddah-King Abdulaziz International Airport
DestinationTripoli International Airport
Ground casualties
Ground fatalities4

On 27 July 1989, a Korean Air DC-10 crashed while attempting to land in Tripoli, Libya. 75 of the 199 passengers and crew on board plus 4 persons on the ground were killed in the crash.

Accident[change | change source]

Flight 803 was a scheduled International passenger service from Seoul, South Korea to Tripoli, Libya with intermediate stops in Bangkok, Thailand and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. While on final approach to Tripoli, the aircraft crashed into an orchard approximately 1.5 miles short of the runway 27.[1] The weather at the time of the crash consisted of heavy fog and visibility was between 100 and 800 feet.[2]

Korean Air Flight 803 was the second aviation disaster involving a DC-10 in less than two weeks. United Airlines Flight 232 had crashed on 19 July 1989 while attempting an emergency landing in Sioux City, Iowa with 111 of the 296 people on board losing their lives.

Daewoo and Donga had multiple employees, working at construction sites of those companies' facilities, on board; they were South Korean citizens.[3]

There were 190 South Koreans, including seven Libyans, and three Japanese nationals.[4]

Aftermath[change | change source]

After the crash Flight 803's pilot Kim Ho-jung was quoted as saying - "The airport was shrouded in dense fog and visibility was poor when I approached. I lost contact with the control tower for 15 minutes before the crash."[5] Libya's official news agency JANA reported that a Soviet airliner one hour before Flight 803 had rerouted to Malta rather than land in the fog.[3] Also the instrument landing system at Tripoli International Airport wasn't working at the time of the crash.[6]

A Libyan court found the pilot and co-pilot guilty of neglect in December 1990. They were given prison sentences of two years and eighteen months respectively. In the case of the co-pilot the sentence was suspended.[7]

Cause[change | change source]

The cause of the crash was determined to be crew error in attempting a descent below decision height without the runway environment in sight.[8]

References[change | change source]

  1. 75 Die in Libya in Korean DC-10 Crash. Nytimes.com.
  2. Aircraft accident McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 HL7328 Tripoli Archived 2011-07-27 at the Wayback Machine. Aviation-safety.net.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Korean air crash in Libya." Associated Press at The Prescott Courier. Thursday July 27, 1989. p. 2A. Available at Google News.
  4. "The Victoria Advocate - Google News Archive Search". news.google.com.
  5. "Korean Jet Crashes In Libya, Killing 82." Associated Press at The Victoria Advocate. Friday July 28, 1989. pp. 1A and 12A. CITED: p. 12A, under the headline Crash. Available at Google News.
  6. "Tripoli's landing system not working." Associated Press at The Tuscaloosa News. Saturday July 29, 1989. p. 2. Available at Google News.
  7. "Crash role gets pilot two years." Associated Press at The Bulletin (Bend, Oregon). December 21, 1990. p. A4. Available at Google News.
  8. Korean Air Flight 803 at Archived 2012-11-03 at the Wayback Machine. Airdisaster.com (27 July 1989).