Korean Air Lines Flight 007

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01.09.1983
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Korean Air Lines Flight 007 (also known as KAL007 and KE007) was a scheduled Korean Air Lines flight from New York City to Seoul via Anchorage. On September 1, 1983, theairliner serving the flight was shot down by a Soviet Su-15interceptor near Moneron Island, west of Sakhalin Island, in theSea of Japan. The interceptor's pilot was Major Gennadi Osipovich. All 269 passengers and crew aboard were killed, including Lawrence McDonald, representative from Georgia in the United States House of Representatives. The aircraft was en route from Anchorage to Seoul when it flew through prohibited Soviet airspace around the time of a U.S. reconnaissance mission.

The Soviet Union initially denied knowledge of the incident, but later admitted the shootdown, claiming that the aircraft was on a spy mission. The Politburo said it was a deliberate provocation by the United States to test the Soviet Union's military preparedness, or even to provoke a war. The White House accused the Soviet Union of obstructing search and rescue operations. The Soviet military suppressed evidence sought by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) investigation, such as the flight data recorders, which were released eight years later after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The incident was one of the tensest moments of the Cold Warand resulted in an escalation of anti-Soviet sentiment, particularly in the United States. The opposing points of view on the incident were never fully resolved. Consequently, several groups continue to dispute official reports and offer alternative theories of the event. The subsequent release of KAL 007 flight transcripts and flight recorders by the Russian Federation has clarified some details.

As a result of the incident, the United States altered tracking procedures for aircraft departing Alaska. The interface of theautopilot used on airliners was redesigned to make it more ergonomic. In addition, the event was one of the most important single events that prompted the Reagan administration to allow worldwide access to the United States military'sGNSS system, which was classified at the time. Today this system is widely known as GPS.

Details of the flight

 Australia 2  British Hong Kong 12  Canada 8  Dominican Republic 1  India 1   Iran 1   Japan 28   Malaysia 1   Philippines 16   South Korea 105  *  Sweden 1   Taiwan 23   Thailand 5  United Kingdom 2  United States 62  Vietnam 1 

Total 269

* 76 passengers, 23 active crew and 6 deadheading crew.

The aircraft flying as Korean Air Lines Flight 007 was a commercialBoeing 747-230B delivered on January 28, 1972, with the serial number CN20559/186 and registration HL7442 (formerly D-ABYH operated by Condor). The aircraft departed Gate 15 ofJohn F. Kennedy International Airport, New York City on August 30, 1983, bound for Gimpo Airport in Gangseo-gu, Seoul, 35 minutes behind its scheduled departure time of 23:50 EDT (03:50 UTC, August 31). The flight was carrying 246 passengers and 23 crew members. After refueling at Anchorage International Airport in Anchorage, Alaska, the aircraft, piloted on this leg of the journey by Captain Chun Byung-in, departed for Seoul at 04:00Alaska Time (13:00 UTC) on August 31, 1983.

The aircrew had an unusually high ratio of crew to passengers, as six deadheading crew were on board.[13] Twelve passengers occupied the upper deck first class, while in business almost all of 24 seats were taken; in economy class, approximately 80 seats did not contain passengers. There were 22 children under the age of 12 years aboard. One hundred and thirty passengers planned to connect to other destinations such as Tokyo, Hong Kong, andTaipei.

U.S. congressman Lawrence McDonald from Georgia, who at the time was also the second president of the conservative John Birch Society, was on the flight. Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, Senator Steven Symms of Idaho, and Representative Carroll J. Hubbard, Jr. of Kentucky were aboard sister flight KAL 015, which flew 15 minutes behind KAL 007; they were headed, along with McDonald on KAL 007, to Seoul, South Korea, in order to attend the ceremonies for the thirtieth anniversary of the U.S.-South Korea Mutual Defense Treaty. The Soviets contended former U.S. president Richard Nixon was to have been seated next to Larry McDonald on KAL 007 but that the CIA warned him not to go, according to the New York Post and TASS; this was denied by Nixon. 

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Sources: wikipedia.org

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