I'll Always Be 23/02/11
2011-02-23 22:12:38 UTC
passenger aircraft on the runway of Los Rodeos Airport (now known as Tenerife
North Airport) on the Spanish island of Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands.
With 583 fatalities, the crash remains the deadliest accident in aviation
history. All 248 aboard the fully-fuelled KLM Flight 4805 were killed. There
were also 335 fatalities and 61 survivors from Pan Am Flight 1736, which was
struck along its spine by the KLM's landing gear, under-belly and four engines.
Rescue crews were unaware for over 20 minutes that the Pan Am aircraft was also
involved in the accident, because of the heavy fog and the separation of the
crippled aircraft following the collision.
The collision took place on March 27, 1977, at 17:06:56 local time. The aircraft
were operating as Pan Am Flight 1736 (the Clipper Victor) under the command of
Captain Victor Grubbs, and KLM Flight 4805 (the Rijn) under the command of
Captain Jacob Veldhuyzen van Zanten. Taking off in heavy fog on the airport's
only runway, the KLM flight crashed into the top of the Pan Am aircraft
backtaxiing in the opposite direction. The Pan Am had followed the backtaxiing
of the KLM aircraft, under the direction of air traffic control, and the KLM's
flight crew had been aware of Pan Am backtaxiing behind them on the same runway.
Despite lack of visual confirmation due to the fog the KLM captain thought that
Pan Am had cleared the runway and so attempted to take off without further
clearance to do so. Several other key factors contributed to the accident.