1979: Aircraft Crashes in Antarctica

1979: Aircraft Crashes in Antarctica
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Story Highlights

  • historical event: The flight was advertised as a unique experience of visiting the natural attractions of Antarctica.

On this day there was a crash in which 257 people were killed when the DC-10 type plane operated by Air New Zealand crashed into Mount Erebus in Antarctica. It was a flight intended for Antarctica sightseeing. The flight was advertised as a unique experience. A professional guide who showed passengers Antarctic natural sights was also aboard the plane. The travel plan also included a low flight through the area near the active volcano Mount Erebus.

The incident occurred because the flight planners entered modified flight coordinates into a computer without notifying the crew. The new coordinates predicted flying almost directly over the 3,794-meter-high volcano, Mount Erebus. The pilots followed that route, but did not increase their altitude enough, because they were not aware they were crossing over the high mountain. The whiteness of the snow-covered volcano blended with the white clouds, and they could not recognize the danger visually. When the device that signaled they were dangerously close to the ground turned on, it was already too late. They crashed into the mountain and the plane exploded killing all passengers and crew members.

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