Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114


Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114

Infobox Airliner accident
Name = Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114
Crash



Image caption = Artist's rendition of Libyan Arab Airlines 727 5A-DAH and two Israeli Air Force F-4 fighters over the Sinai.CG
Date = February 21, 1973
Type = Shoot down
Site = Sinai Peninsula
Origin = Tripoli

Destination = Cairo

Last stopover = Benghazi

Fatalities = 108
Injuries = unknown
Aircraft Type = Boeing 727-224
Operator = Libyan Arab Airlines
Tail Number = 5A-DAH
Passengers = 104
Crew = 9
Survivors = 5

Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114 was a regularly-scheduled flight from Tripoli to Cairo via Benghazi. At 10:30 on February 21, 1973, the 727-224 left Tripoli, but became lost due to a combination of bad weather and equipment failure over northern Egypt around 13:44 (1:44 P.M. local). Lost, it entered the then-Israeli-controlled airspace over the Sinai Peninsula, was intercepted by two Israeli F-4 Phantom IIs and shot down while trying to re-enter Egyptian airspace after refusing to follow instructions issued by the Israeli pilots. There were 113 people on board, of those there were 5 survivors, including the co-pilot.http://www.airsafe.com/events/models/b727.htm List of 727 incidents.] Aerial intrusions by Civil and Military Aircraft in a Time of Peace Phelps, John Maj. Military Law Review Vol 107 Winter 1985 ]

Account

The aircraft was piloted by a mostly French crew (captain and flight engineer; the co-pilot was Libyan) under a contractual arrangement between Air France and Libyan Arab Airlines. After a brief stop at Benghazi in eastern Libya, Flight 114 continued en route to Cairo with 113 people on board.

As the airliner cruised high over northern Egypt, a large sandstorm below forced the crew to completely rely on instrument navigation. A short time later, around 13:44, the pilot began to suspect that he had made a navigational error because of a compass malfunction: he could not find an air traffic beacon, and could not ascertain the plane's current location. He did not report his worries to the Cairo air control tower. Instead, at 13:52 he received permission from Cairo to begin his descent. In fact, by now pushed by strong tailwinds, the aircraft had drifted east considerably, and was flying over the Suez canal. The previously Egyptian-held Sinai had been occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.

That day Israel was technically in a state of war with Egypt, but the hostilities were suspended under a cease fire agreement. As a result Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) were on high alert should the cease fire be broken. At 13:54, Flight 114 entered airspace over the Sinai desert, cruising at 20,000 feet. Two minutes later, two Israeli Air Force F-4 fighters were scrambled to investigate and intercepted the airliner at 13:59. The fighter pilots made eye contact with the airliner's crew, and visually signaled them (with hand gestures) that they should follow the F-4s back to Refidim air base. The 727's crew responded by indicating they would not comply and were flying on. Aerial intrusions by Civil and Military Aircraft in a Time of Peace Phelps, John Maj. Military Law Review Vol 107 Winter 1985 ] The fighter pilots tried one last time to make Flight 114 comply visually by dipping their wings to no avail.

Aiming at the Boeing's wing tips in order to cripple, but not destroy Flight 114, short bursts with the F-4's cannon were fired. The 20mm shells severely damaged control surfaces, hydraulic systems, and the wing structure itself. Flight 114 could no longer stay in the air, and was forced to attempt an emergency landing. Aerial intrusions by Civil and Military Aircraft in a Time of Peace Phelps, John Maj. Military Law Review Vol 107 Winter 1985 ] in an area covered with sand dunes. The uneven terrain proved to be less than suitable for safe landing and when Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114 came to rest, 108 of the 113 people aboard were dead.

Aftermath

The copilot, who survived, later said that the flight crew knew the Israeli jets wanted them to land but relations between Israel and Libya then made them decide against following instructions. The Libyan government stated that the attack occurred without warning despite what the copilot said. Israel's air force stated that Flight 114 was a security threat, and that among the possible tasks it could have been undertaking was an aerial spy mission over the secret Israeli air base at Bir Gafgfa.

The Israeli government also revealed that LN 114 had been shot down with the personal authorization of David Elazar, the Israeli Chief of Staff. Israel's argument was that given the heightened security situation and the erratic behavior of the jet's crew, the actions taken were prudent. The United Nations did not take any action against Israel. The 30 member nations of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) voted to censure Israel for the attack. The United States did not accept the reasoning given by Israel, and condemned the incident. Aerial intrusions by Civil and Military Aircraft in a Time of Peace Phelps, John Maj. Military Law Review Vol 107 Winter 1985 ]

ee also

*List of airliner shootdown incidents for similar occurrences resulting in an airliner being shot down.

References


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