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The Worst Mid-Air Collision In Aviation History

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Hi guys,Did you know that in November 12th, 1996, the worst mid-air collision in aviation history & the fourth worst air disaster in the world, involved a Boeing 747? I'm sure some of you actually remember this horrific disaster, but since a lot of people haven't heard of it I thought that this would make an interesting read to those who like to read about air disasters.In the fateful evening of Tuesday, November 12th, 1996, Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) flight 763, a Boeing 747-100B, departed from New Delhi's Indira Gandhi international airport, bound for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with a stop in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. During the climbout, the Saudi 747 crew was maintaining 14,000 feet as per the ATC instructions and were awaiting further instructions from ATC to continue their climb. They were just 50 miles away from New Delhi (at the time the 747 classics of Saudia weren't equipped with TCAS) when the Captain of the Saudi crew sighted an aircraft's lights directly in front of them & flying in their opposite path. Horrified, he tried to pull the 747 away from the deadly flightpath but it was just seconds from the collision. At 14,000 feet over the village of Charkhi Dadri, 50 miles away from New Delhi, the Saudi 747 collided with an Air Kazakhstan IL-76 freighter. 312 crew & passengers were aboard the Saudi 747. 37 crew & passengers were aboard the IL-76. In all, 349 souls were lost. No one survived. Amazingly, no one in the village was even hurt, as the wreckage from the planes fell on an arid farming area next to the village. Yet the villagers said that not only did they see the explosions from the collision, but the sounds were so loud that their houses' windows shattered and broke to pieces from the sounds.A USAF C-141 flying in the area near the collision actually said that they saw the wreckage of the aircraft plummeting to the ground. They said that at first they saw a great orange glow below them which they thought was lightning but it apparantly lasted more than lightning and it was bright orange. than the clouds under them parted and they reported seeing two great lines of fire descending to the ground.In the end of a lengthy investigation by Saudi Arabian Airlines and aviation authorities, it was found that the IL-76 crew & the indian ATC were to blame while the Saudi 747 crew were innocent. While the Saudi 747 crew were maintaining 14,000 feet and awaiting further instructions from ATC to climb to higher altitudes, the IL-76 was supposed to maintain 15,000 and await further instructions for descent into Delhi but for reasons that aren't very clear they descended to 14,000 right into the 747's path. It's worth noting that since they recovered the blackboxes (CVR boxes), it was found that among the IL-76 crew there was a translator who was translating English ATC instructions to the Captain of the IL-76. It was only moments before the collision that the translator noticed the mistake that the Captain was at 14,000 feet instead of the assigned 15,000 but it was too late. The Indian ATC were also to blame since their radar systems were outdated and they didn't clearly show the disaster that was about to happen. In the aftermath of the collision, all of Saudi Arabian Airlines' aircraft were fitted with TCAS systems. It's needless to say that all of Saudi Arabian Airlines' newest fleet additions from Boeing come with TCAS as standard equipment built-in to the Navigation Displays.During the search for the bodies of the passengers and crew of the Saudi 747(the wreckage of the two planes landed in different areas), the older brother of the Captain of Saudi Arabian Airlines flight 763, who travelled to the crash site of the 747 after it was confirmed that his brother was the Captain of the flight, said that he kept searching with the clean-up crew at the crash site for the remains of the cockpit and the flight crew, but he only found the remains with the clean-up crew on the third day after the disaster.Excerpt from the Arabic book "Mawaqif Tayyar"(A Pilot's Experiences), from the first chapter which describes the disaster in full detail:"And as the older brother of the Captain scanned with his eyes the tragedy in the scattered burnt remains of the plane, one of the workers who were removing pieces of wreckage from the remains of the forward and middle part of the plane shouted saying:'There are some bodies remaining below.. Here under the body of the plane'-And he points with his hand to the area between the remains of the 2 burnt wings-And people came from every direction to remove the wires and sheets of metal with all difficulty to see the remains of the flight deck, of which there wasn't anymore clues to show that this was the flight deck, and it was very tough, when they were trying to bring out what remained of the bodies of the three flight crew members which were dug into the ground about 5 metres.The older brother of the Captain says:'I saw my brother and I recognized him from the airline's identifacation on his chest and the sign on his shoulders and some of his official papers that were in his chest's pocket. Fire had injured him and it damaged most of his looks, but I saw something strange when I cleaned him, his skin was white and bright white unlike his natural light brown color which I know, and the blood was still bleeding red & pure.. Yes he was still bleeding, and we were in the third day from the happening of the accident. God bless them all and may he bring us all & them in the heavens of pleasure."Here's 2 links that describe the accident clearly: just posted the info about this disaster for the forum readers around here who are interested in reading about aviation disasters and their investigations and I hope you found this to be an interesting read. Please tell me your opinions.Best Regards,

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