Tenerife airport disaster

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Tenerife airport disaster
KLM Flight 4805 · Pan Am Flight 1736
Het verongelukte KLM-toestel De Rijn, Bestanddeelnr 929-1005 - cropped.jpg
Wreckage on the runway
DateMarch 27, 1977
SummaryRunway collision
Los Rodeos Airport
(now Tenerife North Airport)
Tenerife, Canary Islands
Coordinates: 28°28′54″N 16°20′18″W / 28.48165°N 16.3384°W / 28.48165; -16.3384
Total fatalities583
Total injuries61
Total survivors61
First aircraft
KLM Boeing 747-200 PH-BUF (7491686916).jpg
PH-BUF, the KLM Boeing 747-206B
involved in the accident
TypeBoeing 747-206B
NameRijn ("Rhine")
OperatorKLM Royal Dutch Airlines
IATA flight No.KL4805
ICAO flight No.KLM4805
Call signKLM 4805
Flight originAmsterdam Airport Schiphol
DestinationGran Canaria Airport
Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
Second aircraft
Boeing 747-121, Pan American World Airways - Pan Am AN1399875.jpg
A Pan Am Boeing 747-121,
similar to the aircraft involved in the accident
TypeBoeing 747-121
NameClipper Victor
OperatorPan American World Airways
IATA flight No.PA1736
ICAO flight No.PAA1736
Call signCLIPPER 1736
Flight originLos Angeles International Airport
Los Angeles, United States
StopoverJohn F. Kennedy International Airport, New York City, U.S.
DestinationGran Canaria Airport
Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
(326 passengers, 9 crew)

The Tenerife airport disaster happened on March 27, 1977, when two Boeing 747s collided on the ground of Los Rodeos Airport (now Tenerife North Airport). This crash killed 583 people on board the two flights.

The crash was caused by many reasons. One reason is that as the KLM captain wanted to takeoff quickly so that he could return to Amsterdam. This made him misunderstand that he was cleared by Air Traffic Controller to takeoff and so he began to take off, eventually crashing into the Pan Am flight.[1] At that time, the Tenerife North Airport did not have ground radar, so the controllers could not know that the KLM flight was taking off.[2]

Another reason was the fog surrounding the airport. The bad weather reduced the visibility, meaning the pilots could not see each other and neither could the controllers see the two planes on the runway. Because of the fog, the pilots only saw each other at the last minute, when they could not have prevented the crash. If there was no fog, the KLM crew would have seen the Pan Am plane on the runway and would not have taken off.[2]

It was the worst crash in the history of aviation.[3]

References[change | change source]

  1. "ASN Aircraft Accident Boeing 747-121 N736PA Tenerife-Norte Los Rodeos Airport (TFN). Archived 2011-04-02 at the Wayback Machine" Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Mayday, Crash of the Century (Special). Cineflix, 2006.
  3. "Aviation Safety Network > Statistics > Worst accidents > 100 worst accidents. Archived 2014-02-22 at the Wayback Machine" Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved April 7,