Criminal Occurrence description
Last updated: 25 July 2014
Status:Final
Date:Wednesday 27 July 1955
Type:Silhouette image of generic CONI model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Lockheed L-149 Constellation
Operator:El Al Israel Airlines
Registration: 4X-AKC
C/n / msn: 1968
First flight: 1945
Crew:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7
Passengers:Fatalities: 51 / Occupants: 51
Total:Fatalities: 58 / Occupants: 58
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:N of Petrich (   Bulgaria) show on map
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Wien-Schwechat International Airport (VIE/LOWW), Austria
Destination airport:Tel Aviv-Lod International Airport (TLV/LLBG), Israel
Flightnumber: 402/26
Narrative:
The Constellation had taken off from Vienna at 02:53 for a flight to Tel Aviv. After the aircraft crossed the Yugoslav/Bulgarian border at FL180 it was attacked by 2 Bulgarian fighter aircraft. The plane descended until it broke up at 2000 feet, crashing in flames.
The Constellation had strayed off course because of an incorrect radio compass indication due to the effects of thunderstorm activity in the area. Believing to be over the Skopje beacon, the crew changed the heading to 142 degrees. At 40 miles east off airways Amber 10, the aircraft entered Bulgarian airspace and was intercepted by the Bulgarian fighters.


PROBABLE CAUSE: "The aircraft sustained a hit or hits which caused loss of pressurization and a fire in the heater compartment. The aircraft broke up in mid-air due to explosion caused by bullets hitting the right wing and probably the left wing together with a projectile or projectiles of large calibre in the rear end of the fuselage."

Classification:
Thunderstorm

Shot down by aircraft
Loss of control

Sources:
» ICAO Accident Digest Circular 50-AN/45 (146-159)


Follow-up / safety actions
It was recommended that more VOR stations be used on airway Amber 10, instead of just one at the time of the accident.

Photos

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Map
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Wien-Schwechat International Airport to Tel Aviv-Lod International Airport as the crow flies is 2344 km (1465 miles).

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