1. Some 583 people died or were mortally injured on March 27th 1977 after two Boeing 747 jumbo jets collided on a runway at Los Rodeos airport,Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, making this the worlds worst civil aviation disaster
2. The PanAm Boeing 747-121, on a charter passenger flight from Los Angeles to Las Palmas, had been in the air for eight hours. Some 396 people, including 16 crew, were on board. Its captain was annoyed as he had not obtained clearance to land at Las Palmas. A bomb had exploded there two hours previously and theairport was closed for being repaired. The 747 was requested to divert to Tenerife, 70 km west of Las Palmas. The Captain and his passengers were unhappy about this arrangement, but they had no other choice.
3. At 14h15 GMT, PanAm flight 1736 made its final approach on runway 30. The landing at Los Rodeosairport (Tenerife North) was a smooth one, but the captain noticed the larger than usual number of aircraft at the airport. Many aircraft, including a 747-206B from KLM, had landed there following the closure of Las Palmas airport. Thesmall Tenerife airport was saturated.
4. The PanAm 747 was requested to park in fourth position, behind theKLM 747. The KLM aircraft was also a charter flight (KLM 4805). It had landed 45 minutes previously, with 248 people onboard, including 14 crew. Its captain was nervous: verystrict Dutch regulation forbid the crew to exceed their quota of flying hours. If the plane didn’t take-off soon, its captain and KLM could be in serious trouble.
5. At 14h30 GMT, good news: the Tenerife control tower informed all grounded aircraft that Las Palmas airport hadjust re-opened. The controller informed the Panama Captain that in order to speed up take-off, he could taxi right behind the KLM 747. The Panama captain agreed.
6. Weather deteriorated: a heavy fog would sooncover the airport. The visibility rapidly dropped to a few hundred meters (300 feet). At 16h51, the KLM 747 was cleared to start its engines.At 16h52, the Panama 747 requested clearanceto start its engines. The control towers answer was as follows: 16:52 (Tenerife control tower) - PanAma 1736, you are cleared to start. Report ready for taxi.For your information, you will have to backtrackbehind the other 747 and leave the runway third taxiway to your left.
7. Both 747s would therefore backtrackthe length of the 3,400-meter (11,000 feet) runway at low speed. The KLM aircraft would backtrack to the end of the runway, make a u-turn and report ready for take-off. The PanAm plane would exit the runway into the third taxiway in order to free the way for the KLMaircraft to take off. This was deemed the simplest solution in view of heavy traffic at the airport.
8. Both aircraft were still backtracking down the runway, but the PanAm 747 was lost in thefog, the latter making it very difficult to spot the exit taxiways. The control tower had confirmedearlier that the aircraft must exit the runway into the third taxiway. This picture was taken at theTenerife airport, a few minutes prior to the crash. It shows both 747 that will collide in a few minutes. Foreground, the KLM one. Background, the PanAm one.
9. Yet more bad news. In addition, the crew of the PanAm 747 had just passed the third taxiway without seeing it. They had seen the first one, missed the second one, and were nowpassing the third one thinking it was the second one. They were now headed for the fourth one. Meanwhile, the Dutch 747 had finishedbacktracking the runway and was now making an a-turn. The fog dissipated slightly and thevisibility increased to 700 meters. This was anopportunity that the KLM captain wasnt about to miss.
10. The 747 obtained clearance, but was not allowed to take off as yet. However, its captain, in ahurry, started advancing the throttle, having forgotten that another aircraft was still taxiing down therunway. The stressful situation was probably to blame. The Panam first officer was talking simultaneously. The controller was struck by a sudden doubt. He reminded the KLM captain that he had not been cleared for take-off. The last two messages were radioed simultaneously and were therefore heard as a long four-second high- pitched sound. The KLM 747 speed increased. Some 1,500 meters further on, the PanAm 747 was still taxiing down the runway.
11. Paths of both 747The last two messages were radioed simultaneouslyand were therefore heard as a long four-second high-pitched sound. The KLM 747 speed increased. Some 1,500 meters further on, the PanAm 747 was still taxiing down the runway. The KLM captain did notreact. He may have misunderstood and thought that the PanAm 747 had just cleared the runway.
12. Areas where debris were foundMeanwhile, the PanAm jumbo jet reached the fourth taxiway. Suddenly, the PanAm captain spotted the landing lights of the KLM Boeing approximatively700 meters away in the fog. The PanAm crew set full throttle to leave the runway as quickly as possible, but it was too late. The KLM captain spotted the PanAm jumbo jet on the runway.
13. Computer-generated portrayal ofcollision between both Boeing 747
14. The impact was about thirteen seconds later, at 17:06:50GMT, after which the air traffic controllers were unable toreturn to communicate with any of the two planes.Due to intense fog, the KLM jet pilots could not see thePam Am plane in front. KLM Flight 4805 was visible fromapproximately 8 s and 1736 PAA half before thecollision, but despite having tried to accelerate out of thetrack, the crash was inevitable.The KLM was completely in the air when the impactoccurred, about 250 km / h.Experts estimated that 25 feet(7.62 meters) would have been enough to avoid disaster. Itsfront hit the top of another Boeing, ripping the roof of thecabin and upper deck passengers, after which the twoengines hit the Pan Am plane, killing most of the rearpassengers instantly.
15. The plane continued flying Dutchman after the collision, crashing into the ground about 150 meters from the crash site, and gliding down the runway about 300 m more. There was a violent fire immediately and although the impact to the Pan Am and the soil was extremely violent, the 248 people aboard the KLM died in the fire, and 335 of the 380 people aboard the Pan Am, including 9 who died later due to injuries.The weather conditions made it impossible for theaccident was seen from the control tower, where there was only one explosion followed another, without being clear their situation or causes.
16. Trucks and divided close to what they thought was a second outbreak of the fire itself, they discovered a second plane on fire. Immediatelyconcentrated their efforts on the second plane as the first was completely unrecoverable. As a result, despite the powerful flames on thesecond plane, could save the left, where he later extracted between fifteen and twenty thousand kilos of fuel. Meanwhile, the control tower, still covered in a dense fog, still could not find the exact location of fire and if it was one or two aircraft involved in the accident.
17. According to survivors of Pan Am flight, including the flight captain, Victor Grubbs, the impact wasnot terribly violent, prompting some passengers tobelieve that it had been an explosion. A few located on the front, jumped the track for openings on the left side while several explosions occurred. The evacuation, however, occurred quickly and thewounded were taken. Many had to jump blindly and many survivors had fractures and sprains in the height of the jumbo.
18. The people who work at theairport are witnesses of such paranormal phenomena as watching screamingghosts, who tried to go out or jump from the planes, they also saw passengers ghostsrunning towards the track at nights.
19. TRAGEDY OF TENERIFEhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdNqGddTUGk&feature=relatedhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNZOOw69L0k&feature=relatedhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZ23ESSX-d4&feature=relatedhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Stjj1dauSLU&feature=related