Accident Boeing 737-2H6 9M-MBD,
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Date:Sunday 4 December 1977
Type:Silhouette image of generic B732 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Boeing 737-2H6
Owner/operator:Malaysian Airlines System - MAS
Registration: 9M-MBD
MSN: 20585/306
Year of manufacture:1972
Total airframe hrs:12684 hours
Engine model:Pratt & Whitney JT8D-15
Fatalities:Fatalities: 100 / Occupants: 100
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:near Tanjong Kupang -   Malaysia
Phase: En route
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Penang International Airport (PEN/WMKP)
Destination airport:Kuala Lumpur Subang International Airport (KUL/WMKK)
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
MAS flight 653 departed Penang, Malaysia at 19:21 hours on a domestic flight to Kuala Lumpur. While descending through an altitude of 4000 feet towards Kuala Lumpur, the crew reported that the plane was hijacked. The hijacker demanded to be flown to Singapore.
The aircraft climbed to FL210 and proceeded to Singapore. En route to Singapore, the hijacker reportedly shot both pilots and then himself. The cockpit voice recordings indicate noises suggestive of the cockpit door being broken in, along with a reasonable amount of screaming and cursing. No noises are heard from within the cockpit to indicate any of the three occupants were conscious. The autopilot was then disconnected, possibly due to a pitch input by someone entering the cockpit and trying to control the aircraft. An investigator speculated that someone pulled back on the column, causing a pitch up, followed by an oscillation. This rapidly developed into a high amplitude phugoid oscillation that resulted in a rapid dive. The 737 crashed into a swamp and disintegrated.

The accident was caused by the fatal incapacitation of the crew by the hijackers resulting in the aircraft being left in the descent to impact without any professional control.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: 
Report number: 1/78
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


Flight International 10 December 1977 (1708)
The final call / S. Barlay (382-282)



photo (c) via Werner Fischdick; Bangkok International Airport (BKK); March 1976

Revision history:

15-Jan-2024 11:27 harro Updated [Other fatalities, Damage, Accident report]
15-Jan-2024 11:37 harro Updated [Other fatalities, Source, Damage, Narrative]

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