Air Transport World

Airlines carve impressive record for transocean service. (despite Air-India accident)

The fragic plunge of Air-India Flight 182 into the North Atlantic off the Irish coast on June 23 was a startling landmark in the history f transatlantic passenger service. There has been no catastrophic enroute crash of a scheduled U.S. flag airliner on the North Atlantic in the half-century of CAB/NTSB accident records. The Air-India accident is the first such crash of a foreign flag airliner in the memory of airline veterans here.

At ATW presstime there was somewhat inconclusive evidence of sabotage, the immediate suspect for cause. No telltale punctures had been found on recovered bodies of nearly half of the 329 persons on board. Many, however, probably had struck the water after falling free from the airplane. This, together with the instantaneous disappearance of the transponder return from ATC radarscopes, pointed to sudden inflight breakup at 31,000 ft. …

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