Narrative:Korean Airlines flight KE007, a Boeing 747-230B, arrived at Anchorage, AK (ANC) at 03:30 local time after a flight from New York-JFK< NY (JFK). At 05:00 the aircraft took off again from runway 32, bound for Seoul (SEL). The flight was cleared directly to the Bethel VOR beacon and then on to the Romeo 20 route. However, the aircraft started diverging from it's intended course and passed 12 miles North of the Bethel beacon. While approaching the Kamchatka peninsula, six Soviet Air Force MiG-23 fighters were scrambled. Because a US Boeing RC-135 intelligence plane was flying in the area east off Kamchatka, the Soviet defence forces probably thought the B747 radar echo to be the RC-135. KAL 007 left Russian airspace over the Okhostk Sea and the fighters returned to their base. Passing abeam the Nippi waypoint (4 hours after takeoff), the aircraft was 185 miles off course and headed for Sakhalin. Two Soviet Sukhoi Su-15 fighters were scrambled from the Dolinsk-Sokol airbase at 17:42 UTC and 17:54 respectively. At 18:16 UTC flight 007 re-entered Soviet airspace. At 18:22 the Soviet command ordered destruction of the target (for the second time). Two air-to-air missiles were launched by one of the fighters and struck the Boeing at 18:26 (August 31, 03:26 local time September 1). Cabin pressure was lost and the aircraft suffered control problems, causing the Boeing to spiral down and crash into the sea.
Shot down by aircraft
Loss of control
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 Anchorage International Airport, AK to Seoul-Gimpo (Kimpo) International Airport as the crow flies is 6026 km (3766 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.