Criminal Occurrence description
Last updated: 18 December 2013
Narrative:Flight 902 departed Paris for a flight to Seoul with an intermediate stop at Anchorage, AK. The aircraft passed the Canadian Station "Alert", located 400 miles from the North Pole where the crew corrected their course. However this brought them on a course directly across the Barents Sea towards Soviet airspace. The plane was initially recognized by Soviet anti-aircraft defense radars as a Boeing 747. Sukhoi Su-15TM interceptor jets were sent to intercept the intruder. When both Sukhoi jets were flying next to the Korean airliner, the captain said he slowed down plane and switched on landing lights. Nevertheless the Su-15 crews were ordered to shoot down the plane. According to the U.S. the Su-15 pilot for several minutes tried to convince his superiors to cancel the attack, because the aircraft was a civilian Boeing 707 instead of a reconnaissance Boeing RC-135. After an additional order two P-60 rockets were launched. One of them missed the 707 but the other rocket exploded, severely damaging part of the left wing. Shrapnel punctured the fuselage, causing a rapid decompression and killing two passengers. The Korean pilot initiated an emergency descent from FL350 to 5000 feet and entered clouds. Both Sukhoi jets lost the 707 in the clouds. The aircraft continued at low altitude, crossing the Kola Peninsula and looking for a place to land. After several unsuccessful attempts in the evening dusk landed on the ice of Korpijärvi lake. All occupants were rescued by Russian helicopters.
|Date:||Thursday 20 April 1978|
|Operator:||Korean Air Lines - KAL|
|C/n / msn:|| 19363/623|
|First flight:|| 1967|
|Engines:|| 4 Pratt & Whitney JT3D-3B|
|Crew:||Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 12|
|Passengers:||Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 97|
|Total:||Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 109 |
|Airplane damage:|| Written off|
|Airplane fate:|| Written off (damaged beyond repair)|
|Location:||Korpijärvi Lake (Russia)
|Phase:|| En route (ENR)|
|Nature:||International Scheduled Passenger|
|Departure airport:||Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG/LFPG), France|
|Destination airport:||Anchorage International Airport, AK (ANC/PANC), United States of America|
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 Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport to Anchorage International Airport, AK as the crow flies is 7465 km (4666 miles).
This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.