Udayavni Special

Tenerife Airport disaster: The deadliest plane crash in history


Team Udayavani, Aug 13, 2020, 1:25 PM IST

On March 27, 1977, at Tenerife-North Airport (formerly Los Rodeos), two Boeing 747s , one belonging to KLM, the other to Pan Am, collided on a foggy runway and around 583 people were killed

Captain Robert Bragg was the co-pilot aboard the Pan Am plane, and was one of the few who survived the collision.

What Happened

According to the The Sun, KLM flight 4805, carrying 248 passengers and crew, was attempting to take off from the same runway where Pan Am flight 1736, which had 396 people on board, was taxiing.

The Pan Am plane had come from Los Angeles via New York City and the KLM plane from Amsterdam, and both were heading to Gran Canaria, another of the Canary Islands.

Due to bad weather, the pilots on the two planes were unable to see each other from a distance and were relying on air traffic control to guide them. Also, there was no ground tracking radar at the airport.

The error was only spotted when the KLM flight was just 2,000ft away from the Pam Am plane,  but it was already too late.

Both planes were destroyed. All 248 KLM passengers and crew died, along with 335 passengers and crew on Pan Am. There were 61 survivors, all on Pan Am, including captain Victor Grubbs and Robert Bragg.

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