March 5

This Day in History

Disaster

Mar 5, 1966:

Jet breaks up near Mt. Fuji

On this day in 1966, a jet breaks apart in mid-air and plummets into Japan's Mount Fuji. All 124 people on board the aircraft were killed. The plane's pilot apparently flew close to the mountain in order to give the passengers a better view of it, and severe turbulence literally blew the plane apart.

The British Overseas Airways Corporation had a perfect flying record in the 1960s when their Boeing 707 left London on March 1 for an around-the-world trip. By March 5, the plane was in Tokyo at the Haneda Airport; its next stop was Hong Kong. On the runway prior to taking off, the passengers of Flight 911 could see the scraps of a deadly crash that had taken place only a month earlier. On February 4, an All Nippon Airways 727 had crashed at Haneda, killing 133 people.

Captain Bernard Dobson took the 707 into the air with no problem and then veered a few miles off course to give the passengers a better view of the famed Japanese landmark, Mount Fuji. As the jet approached the mountain, it was caught up in violent turbulence caused by tremendous wind gusts. The rear control surfaces of the plane were torn off and Captain Dobson lost control of the aircraft. As it plunged toward the base of Mount Fuji, the plane literally broke apart. There were no survivors. Bodies were recovered over a wide area.

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