Home Air Crash Investigations Charkhi Dadri: Mid-Air Clash

Charkhi Dadri: Mid-Air Clash


VA763 (Boeing 747-100B Saudi Arabian Airlines) departed from Delhi International Airport to Dhahran at 18:35. KZA1907 (Kazakhstan Airlines Illyushin II-76) was descending at the same time at Delhi Airport. Both flights were piloted by VK Dutta. KZA1907 was cleared to descend to 15,000 feet, while SVA763 was cleared to climb to 14,000 feet. After 8 minutes, KZA1907 reported that they had reached 15,000 ft, but by that time they had dropped to 14,500 ft and continued their descent.

Not noticing, soon the tail of KZA1907 clipped the left wing of SVA763. SVA763 lost control and hit the ground at a speed of 1135 km/h. Ilyushin remained structurally intact as he continued in a steady but rapid and uncontrolled descent until he crashed in a field. Ultimately, all 312 people on board SVA763 and all 37 people on KZA1907 were killed.

The collision occurred about 100 kilometers (60 mi) west of Delhi. Wreckage of a Saudi plane crashed near Dhani village, Bhiwani district, Haryana. Wreckage of the Kazakh plane hit the ground near Birohar village, Rohtak district, Haryana.

The accident was investigated by the Lahoti Commission headed by then Delhi High Court Judge Ramesh Chandra Lahoti. Flight data recorders were decoded by Kazakhstan Airlines and Saudi Airlines under the supervision of air crash investigators in Moscow and Farnborough, England. The commission determined that the accident was caused by the Kazakh commander of the Il-76, which had descended from its assigned altitude of 15,000 to 14,500 feet (4,600 to 4,400 m) and subsequently to 14,000 feet (4,300 m) and even lower. The report stated that the cause of this serious problem in the operational procedure was the insufficient knowledge of the English language on the part of the Kazakh pilots of the aircraft; they were completely dependent on their radio operator to communicate with ATC.
Just a few seconds after the impact, the Kazakh plane climbed slightly and the two planes collided. This was because the radio operator of Kazakhstan 1907 only then realized they were not at 15,000 feet and asked the pilot to climb. The tail of the Kazakh plane clipped the left wing of the Saudi jet, separating both parts from their respective planes.

The disaster was again the subject of an episode in the March 2, 2009 Mayday (TV series) documentary series titled “Sight Unseen” in widescreen with elaborate computer animation on the National Geographic Channel.



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