ASN Aircraft accident Lockheed L-149 Constellation 4X-AKC Petrich
ASN logo
Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
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
MSN: 1968
First flight: 1945
Crew:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7
Passengers:Fatalities: 51 / Occupants: 51
Total:Fatalities: 58 / Occupants: 58
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:N of Petrich (   Bulgaria)
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
El Al flight LY402 was a scheduled service from London, U.K. to Tel Aviv, Israel with en route stops at Paris, France and Vienna, Austria.
The Constellation took off from Vienna at 02:53 for the last leg of the flight. The flight proceeded normally until over Yugoslavia. The airplane was following airway Amber 10 at FL180. The flight strayed off the airway and the crew misidentified the Skopje NDB, at which point the flight changed the heading to 142 degrees. This put the plane on a course to the Yugoslav/Bulgarian border.
After straying into Bulgarian airspace, the flight was attacked by two Bulgarian MiG-15 fighter aircraft. The Constellation began a descent and was attacked for a second time at an altitude of 8000 feet. The airplane was now on fire as it descended for an emergency landing. After approximately five minutes a third attack took place at an altitude of about 2000 feet. As a result of this
last attack, the aircraft broke up in mid-air.

The Constellation had strayed off course because of an incorrect radio compass indication due to the effects of thunderstorm activity in the area.

Probable Cause:

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."


Shot down by aircraft
Loss of control

» 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.


photo of Lockheed-L-149-Constellation-
Presumed flight route

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).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

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.
languages: languages


Lockheed L-049

  • 88 built
  • 19th loss
  • 12th fatal accident
  • The worst accident (at the time)
  • 4th worst accident (currently)
» safety profile

  • The worst accident (at the time)
  • 2nd worst accident (currently)
» safety profile

The Aviation Safety Network is an exclusive service provided by:
Quick Links:

CONNECT WITH US: FSF on social media FSF Facebook FSF Twitter FSF Youtube FSF LinkedIn FSF Instagram

©2023 Flight Safety Foundation

1920 Ballenger Av, 4th Fl.
Alexandria, Virginia 22314