A Fiery Midair Collision Between Planes That Horrified the World

Yana Bostongirl

The world's deadliest mid-air collision between planes occurred on November 12, 1996, over the village of Charkhi Dadri in India. The planes involved in the crash were Saudi Arabian (Saudia) Flight 763, a Boeing 747 en route from Delhi to Dhahran in Saudi Arabia, and Kazhakstan Airlines Flight 1907 which was inbound from Chimkent, Kazhakstan.

Per reports, the Saudia flight, with 312 people on board, was beginning the first leg of its journey while the Kazhakstan Airlines flight was on charter service with 37 people on board. The collision killed all 349 souls on both planes.

This is an excerpt that describes the unfolding of events that led up to the crash: "KZA1907 was cleared to descend to 15,000 feet (4,600 m) when it was 74 nautical miles (137 km) from the beacon of the destination 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."

The result was nothing short of catastrophic as the descending Kazakstan flight's tail clipped the wing of the Saudia flight causing it to spiral out of control. The Saudia flight broke apart in mid-air before hitting the ground while the Kazakstan flight crash-landed in a field. Although 2 passengers on the Saudia flight and 4 on the Kazakstan flight were found alive, they quickly succumbed to their injuries.

According to investigators, the fault lay with the Kazakstan commander for not reaching the assigned altitude and also the flight crew's lack of English language skills.

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