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Sunday, October 31, 1999 Published at 13:28 GMT


A string of disasters

Boeing 767 at take-off - the plane has a good safety record

The Egypt Air Boeing 767, which crashed off the coast of Massachusetts, is only the third such plane to be lost.

The loss of flight 990
In one incident in 1991, a Lauda aircrew lost control of a Boeing 767 while climbing after taking off in Thailand, killing all 10 crew members and 213 passengers.

In another incident, in November 1996, an Ethiopian Airlines 767 was ditched into the sea near the Comoros Islands, while attempting to land after being hijacked.

However, the loss of EgyptAir's 767 comes after a string of recent incidents involving Boeing aircraft, and at the same time as the US National Transportation Safety Board condemned Boeing Company for not alerting them to an important safety study, which focused on the threat of over heating in fuel tanks.

The study had investigated the danger posed by highly flammable vapours in fuel tanks of a military version of the Boeing 747 aircraft. Its findings could have had an impact on the safety of civilian aircraft.

[ image:  ]
On Saturday, the NTSB issued a statement saying it was "dismayed" that Boeing had withheld the study.

The study was completed 10 years ago, and turned over to the NTSB only in March this year.

Investigators from the NTSB probing the explosion of a TWA jumbo jet off New York in July 1996 are focusing their inquiries on whether heat contributed to the incident.

It is believed the Paris-bound plane had damaged wiring in its fuel system.

The incident, in which 230 people died, has mystified the airline safety world, and some critics say it could have been avoided.

Fuel-tank recall for 727 jets

In May this year, the US Federal Aviation Administration ordered urgent inspections of more than 1,000 US-registered Boeing 727 aircraft for possible wiring problems in the fuel tanks, which could cause a fire or an explosion.

The emergency directive was issued after damaged wiring was discovered in two planes.

A string of accidents

The following are the most recent incidents involving Boeing aircraft.

  • 14 September 1999, Britannia Airways Boeing 757, carrying 245 people, was torn apart when it skidded as it landed in a storm at Gerona airport in Spain. There were 55 injuries.
  • Just over a week later, on 23 September, a Qantas Boeing 747, carrying 407 people on a flight from Sydney to London skidded off a runway during a tropical rainstorm at Bangkok Airport.
  • 22 August 1999, a Boeing jet crashed in Hong Kong while landing in a tropical storm at Hong Kong's new Lap Kok airport, killing 2 people and injuring 212.
  • 31 August, 1999, 80 people died after a Boeing 737 airliner crashed in Argentina while taking off from the main domestic airport in the capital, Buenos Aires.
  • Nine people were killed on 1 June 1999, when an American Airlines MD-80 crashed on landing at Little Rock in the USA.
  • 7 April 1999, a Boeing 737 crashed on take-off at Adna, Turkey, killing 6 people.
  • 6 March 1999, an Air France cargo plane Boeing 747-200 exploded in a fireball after it crash-landed in southern India, but the crew members were rescued.
  • 2 September 1998, Swissair Flight 111, from New York to Geneva, crashed in the Atlantic Ocean near a Nova Scotia fishing village, killing all 229 people on board. The airliner was a McDonnell Douglas MD-11, a company now part of Boeing.
  • Just 36 hours later, a Royal Airlines Boeing 757 from Toronto to Glasgow was forced to land at Goose Bay military base in Newfoundland after smoke appeared in the cockpit. No one was injured.
  • 22 June, 1998, a Boeing 757 carrying more than 200 British holidaymakers was forced to make an emergency landing in Cyprus after sparks flew from a cockpit panel.
  • In May 1998, a Peruvian air force plane, a Boeing 737, on charter to an American oil company crashed near the Ecuadorian border, killing more than 80 people.
  • 20 April, 1998, an Air France Boeing 727 crashed into a mountain in Bogota, Columbia killing 53 people.
  • 18 March, 1988, an Afghan Ariana Airlines Boeing 727 crashed into a mountain in bad weather 15km from the Afghan capital Kabul, killing 22 people.
  • 4 February 1998, a Cebu Pacific DC-9 crashed in a remote mountainous areas of Southern Philippines. All 100 on board died.
  • 19 December 1997, a Silk Air Boeing 737 crashed in Sumatra on a flight from Jakarta to Singapore, killing all 104 people on board.
  • In 1996, nearly 350 people were killed when two aircraft, one a Boeing 747 operated by Saudia collided with a Kazakh cargo jet over India, in the worst incident in Indian aviation.
  • One of the worst recent incidents in the UK involving a Boeing was in January 1989, when a British Midland Boeing 737 bound for Belfast crashed onto the M1 near the village of Kegworth in Leicestershire, killing 47 people.

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