SummaryPilot error, runway incursion, heavy fog, limitations and failures in communication
Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
Total injuries (non-fatal)61
The Tenerife airport disaster was a fatal collision between two Boeing 747 passenger aircraft on Sunday, March 27, 1977, on the runway of Los Rodeos Airport (now known as Tenerife North Airport), on the Spanish island of Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands. The crash killed 583 people, making it the deadliest accident in aviation history.
A bomb explosion at Gran Canaria Airport, and the threat of a second bomb, caused many aircraft to be diverted to Los Rodeos Airport. Among them were KLM Flight 4805 and Pan Am Flight 1736 - the two aircraft involved in the accident. At Los Rodeos Airport, air traffic controllers were forced to park many of the airplanes on the taxiway, thereby blocking it. Further complicating the situation, while authorities waited to reopen Gran Canaria, a dense fog developed at Tenerife, greatly reducing visibility.
When Gran Canaria reopened, the parked aircraft blocking the taxiway at Tenerife required both of the 747s to taxi on the only runway in order to get in position for takeoff. The fog was so thick that neither aircraft could see the other, nor could the controller in the tower see the runway or the two 747s on it.
1 disc containing 3 documentaries on this subject, total runtime approx 100 mins
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