Charkhi Dadri mid-air collision-DELHI-INDIA-[wiki]

Saudi Arabian Airlines Flight 763
Kazakhstan Airlines Flight 1907
Accident summary
Date 12 November 1996
Type Mid-air collision caused by pilot error on Kazakhstan Airlines aircraft
Site Charkhi Dadri, Haryana, India
Total fatalities 349 (all)
Total survivors 0
First aircraft

A Saudia Boeing 747-100 similar to the one involved in the accident
Type Boeing 747-168B
Operator Saudi Arabian Airlines
Registration HZ-AIH
Flight origin Indira Gandhi International Airport (Delhi)
Destination Dhahran International Airport
Passengers 289
Crew 23
Survivors 0
Second aircraft

UN-76435, one of the aircraft involved in the accident, near Indira Gandhi International Airport in 1994.
Type Ilyushin Il-76TD
Operator Kazakhstan Airlines
Registration UN-76435
Flight origin Shymkent Int'l Airport
Destination Indira Gandhi International Airport (Delhi)
Passengers 27
Crew 10
Survivors 0

The 1996 Charkhi Dadri mid-air collision occurred on 12 November 1996 over the village of Charkhi Dadri, to the west of New Delhi, India. The aircraft involved were Saudi Arabian Airlines Flight 763 (SVA763), a Boeing 747-168B en route from New Delhi to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, and Kazakhstan Airlines Flight 1907 (KZA1907), an Ilyushin Il-76TD en route from Shymkent, Kazakhstan, to New Delhi. All 349 people on board both flights were killed, making it the world's deadliest mid-air collision and the third-deadliest aircraft accident in the history of aviation, behind only Japan Airlines Flight 123 and the Tenerife airport disaster.


Accident summary

SVA763 departed New Delhi at 18:32 local time. KZA1907 was, at the same time, descending to land at New Delhi. Both flights were controlled by approach controller VK Dutta. The crew of SVA763 consisted of Captain Khalid Al Shubaily, First Officer Nazir Khan, and Flight Engineer Edris Arabia. On KZA1907, Gennadi Cherepanov served as the pilot and Igor Repp served as the radio operator.
KZA1907 was cleared to descend to 15,000 feet (4,600 m) when 74 miles (119 km) from the airport while SVA763, traveling on the same airway as KZA1907 but in the opposite direction, was cleared to climb to 14,000 feet (4,300 m). About eight minutes later, around 18:40, KZA1907 reported having reached its assigned altitude of 15,000 feet (4,600 m) but it was actually lower, at 14,500 feet (4,400 m), and still descending.At this time, Dutta advised the flight, "Identified traffic 12 o'clock, reciprocal Saudia Boeing 747, 10 miles (16 km). Report in sight."
When the controller called KZA1907 again, he received no reply. He warned of the other flight's distance, but it was too late; the two aircraft had collided, with KZA1907's tail slicing through SVA763's left wing and horizontal stabilizer. The crippled Boeing quickly lost control and went into rapidly descending spiral motion towards the ground with fire trailing from the wing. The Boeing disintegrated under the stress before the wreckage hit the ground at almost 1135 kilometres per hour. The Ilyushin's fuselage remained structurally intact as it went in a steady but rapid and uncontrolled descent until it crashed in a field.Rescuers discovered four critically injured passengers from the Ilyushin, but they all died soon afterward. In the end, all 312 people on board Flight SVA763 and all 37 people on Flight KZA1907 were killed.
Captain Timothy J. Place, a pilot for the United States Air Force, was the sole eyewitness to the event. He was making an initial approach in a Lockheed C-141B Starlifter when he saw "the cloud suddenly flash into bright red".
The wreckage of the Saudia aircraft crashed in Bhiwani District, Haryana, near Dhani. The Kazakhstani aircraft wreckage hit Rohtak District, Haryana, near Birohar.





Passengers and crews

Saudi Arabian Airlines Flight 763

An article in The New York Times on 14 November stated that 215 Indians who boarded the flight worked in Saudi Arabia. The article also stated that 40 Nepalis and 3 Americans boarded the Saudi flight.
According to a 13 November 1996 New York Times article, the passenger manifest included 17 people of other nationalities, including nine Nepalis, three Pakistanis, two Americans, one Bangladeshi, one Briton, and one Saudi.
Twelve of the crew members, including five anti-terrorism officials, were Saudi citizens.

Kazakhstan Airlines Flight 1907

A company from Kazakhstan chartered the flight, and the passenger manifest mostly included ethnic Russian Kazakhstani citizens planning to go shopping in India.
Thirteen Kazakhstani traders boarded the flight.

Crash investigation and report

The crash was investigated by the Lahoti Commission, headed by then-Delhi High Court judge Ramesh Chandra Lahoti. Depositions were taken from the Air Traffic Controllers Guild and the two airlines. The flight data recorders were decoded by Kazakhstani Airlines and Saudia under supervision of air crash investigators in Moscow and Farnborough, Hampshire, England, respectively.
The commission determined that the accident had been the fault of the Kazakhstani Il-76 commander, who (according to FDR evidence) had descended from the assigned altitude of 15,000 feet (4,600 m) to 14,500 feet (4,400 m) and subsequently 14,000 feet (4,300 m) and even lower. The report ascribed the cause of this serious breach in operating procedure to the lack of English language skills on the part of the Kazakhstani aircraft pilots; they were relying entirely on their radio operator for communications with the ATC who in turn did not have his own flight instrumentation but had to look over the pilots' shoulders for a reading. Kazakhstani officials stated that the aircraft had descended while their pilots were fighting turbulence inside a bank of cumulus clouds. Also, a few seconds from impact, the Kazakhstani plane climbed slightly and the two planes collided. This was because the radio operator of Kazakhstani 1907 discovered only then that they were not at 15,000 feet. Had the Kazakhstani pilots not climbed slightly, it is likely that they would have passed under the Saudi plane. He asked the pilot to do so and the captain gave orders for full throttle and the plane climbed, only to hit the oncoming Saudi plane. The tail of the Kazakhstani plane clipped the left wing of the Saudi jet, severing both parts from their respective planes. The recorder of the Saudi plane revealed the pilots reciting the prayer that is required, according to Islamic law, when one faces death. The counsel for the ATC Guild denied the presence of turbulence, quoting meteorological reports, but did state that the collision occurred inside a cloud. This was substantiated by the affidavit of Capt. Place, who was the commander of the aforementioned Lockheed C-141B Starlifter which was flying into New Delhi at the time of the crash. The members of his crew filed similar affidavits. The ultimate cause was held to be the failure of Kazakhstan Airlines Flight 1907's pilot to follow ATC instructions, whether due to cloud turbulence or due to communication problems.
Indira Gandhi International Airport did not have secondary surveillance radar, which produces exact readings of aircraft altitudes by reading transponder signals; instead the airport had outdated primary radar, which produced only readings of distance. In addition, the civilian airspace around New Delhi had one corridor for departures and arrivals. Most areas separate departures and arrivals into separate corridors. The airspace had one civilian corridor because much of the airspace was taken by the Indian Air Force. Due to the crash, the air-crash investigation report recommended changes to air-traffic procedures and infrastructure in New Delhi's air-space: Separation of in-bound and out-bound aircraft through the creation of 'air corridors', installation of a secondary air-traffic control radar for aircraft altitude data, mandatory collision avoidance equipment on commercial aircraft operating in Indian airspace and reduction of the airspace over New Delhi that was formerly under exclusive control of the Indian Air Force.
The Civil Aviation Authorities in India made it mandatory for all aircraft flying in and out of India to be equipped with an ACAS (Airborne Collision Avoidance System).

Published: November 13, 1996
 Officials at the scene said at midnight Tuesday local time that villagers had reported ''three or four'' people alive-[AFTER A FALL OF  15,000 feet]- in the wreckage immediately after the impact, and that all but one of them had died before rescue teams arrived. According to these unconfirmed accounts, the lone survivor was taken to a local hospital. But a later survey of local hospitals turned up no survivors.

Disaster in popular media

The disaster was again the subject of an episode in the documentary series Mayday on 2 March 2009 entitled "Crash Course", in a wide-screen format with sophisticated computer animations on National Geographic Channel. Oddly, the episode depicts SVA763 and KZA1907 as being almost wholly intact (although still critically damaged), with no severed parts,

Airliner accidents and incidents involving mid-air collisions

1948 Gatow air disaster1955 Cincinnati mid-air collision1956 Grand Canyon mid-air collision1960 New York air disaster1965 Carmel mid-air collision
1972 Lake Winnebago mid-air collision1976 Zagreb mid-air collision1986 Cerritos mid-air collisionAeroflot Flight 8381All Nippon Airways Flight 58
Allegheny Airlines Flight 853American Airlines Flight 28Atlantic Southeast Airlines Flight 2254British European Airways Flight 142Charkhi Dadri mid-air collision
Cubana de Aviación Flight 493Eastern Air Lines Flight 45Eastern Air Lines Flight 537First mid-air collision of airlinersGol Transportes Aéreos Flight 1907
Golden West Airlines Flight 261Hughes Airwest Flight 706United Airlines Flight 736Überlingen mid-air collision

Air India is the flag carrier of the Republic of India. It operates a fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft serving Asia, Europe and North America. It is India's oldest and largest airline. Its corporate office is located at the Air India Building at Nariman Point in South Mumbai. It is the 16th largest airline in Asia.
Air India has two major domestic hubs at Mumbai and Delhi respectively and one international hub at Frankfurt, Germany. London, England acts as a focus city for the airline. Air India is set to become a full Star Alliance member by March 2011. The airline is a part of the Indian Government owned National Aviation Company of India Limited (NACIL).

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