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Accident description
Last updated: 28 August 2016
Date:Friday 10 September 1976
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC93 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
McDonnell Douglas DC-9-31
Operator:Inex-Adria Aviopromet
Registration: YU-AJR
C/n / msn: 47649/741
First flight: 1976
Total airframe hrs:1345
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney JT8D-9A
Crew:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 5
Passengers:Fatalities: 108 / Occupants: 108
Total:Fatalities: 113 / Occupants: 113
Collision casualties:Fatalities: 63
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Vrbovec (   Croatia)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Int'l Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Split Airport (SPU/LDSP), Croatia
Destination airport:Köln/Bonn Airport (CGN/EDDK), Germany
Flightnumber: 550
Flight BA475 (a HS-121 Trident) took from London-Heathrow at 08:32 GMT for a flight to Istanbul. About 1˝ hours later, the aircraft approached the ZAG VOR beacon on airway UB5 at FL330 (10000 m), heading 116° (speed 905 km/h).
At the same time the Inex Adria DC-9-31 also approached the ZAG VOR, but flew airway UB9, climbing from FL260 to FL350. The DC-9 had taken off from Split at 09:48 GMT for a flight to Köln. At 10:14:14 the DC-9 captain radioed that they were climbing through FL325. According to ATC data the Flight BA475 was approaching ZAG VOR at FL335 (FL330 actually). Zagreb ATC asked (in Serbo-Croatian) the Inex flight to maintain their present altitude. At 10:14:38 the crew of flight JP550 replied (also in Serbo-Croatian) that they where maintaining FL330. Three seconds afterwards the outer five meters of the DC-9's left wing cut through the Trident's cockpit.
Due to the sudden decompression, the forward part of the Trident's fuselage disintegrated. The remaining part of the fuselage struck the ground tail-first and slid some 4-5 m. to the left.
With it's left wing torn off, the DC-9 tumbled down and hit the ground right-wing first.

CAUSES OF THE ACCIDENT: "1) Direct cause of the accident was the struck of the DC-9 wing into the middle side of the TRIDENT THREE fuselage which occurred at the height of 33.000 feet above Zagreb VOR so that both aircraft became uncontrollable and fell on the ground.; 2) Improper ATC operation; 3) Non-compliance with regulations on continuous listening to the appropriate radio frequency of ATC and non-performance of look-out duty from the cockpits of either aircraft."

Mid air collision
Loss of control

» Air Disasters / Stanley Stewart
» Collision course / by Tony Brkic

Official accident investigation report
investigating agency: Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) - United Kingdom
report status: Final
report number: AAIB AAR 5/1977
report released:25 December 1976
duration of investigation: 106 days (4 months)
download report: Report on the collision to British Airways Trident, G-AWZT and Inex Adria DC9, YU-AJR, in the Zagreb area, Yugoslavia, 1 (AAIB AAR 5/1977)


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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 Split Airport to Köln/Bonn Airport as the crow flies is 1060 km (662 miles).

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