We’ve just uploaded AIR DISASTER 3 to Kindle as an eBook (link here).
It’s the latest instalment in Macarthur Job’s critically-acclaimed series of books exploring some of the worst incidents in aviation since the dawn of mass commercial flight.
The first book in the series dealt with the propeller era; the second with the earliest days of the jet era.
The new one moves on from AD2, and the tragedies of the Comet, the Boeing 707 and the DC10 (notably, it covered the terrible Turkish Airlines Flight 981, which claimed the lives of so many English rugby fans in 1974) and deals with the newer 737, 747 and Airbus aircraft.
The most notable, and bizarre, case is probably that of Aeroflot Flight 593, a March 1994 flight from Moscow to Hong Kong which went horribly wrong after the pilot, Captain Yaroslav Kudrinsky, took the insane decision to allow his teenaged children to ‘fly’ his A310 over Siberia.
If, like me, you’re a nervous and regular flier, just reading about this awful incident will bring you out in a cold sweat.
As ever, Macarthur’s original books dealt in painstaking detail with the technical (or other) causes of the accidents; in republishing them, we have tried to add in a little biographical detail about the poor people aboard each aircraft to bring the appalling events into sharper focus.
There’s something very moving about poring over old newspaper reports from the 1970s and 1980s and reading about lives snuffed out – children, and now grandchildren, never born, hopes and dreams never realised.
On 31 July 1992, Thai Airways Flight 311, an Airbus A310 with 113 people on board, took off from from Bangkok, heading to Kathmandu.
It was surprisingly hard to locate information about the passengers, who included eleven Americans, two Britons, two Canadians, one New Zealander and one Australian.
Two stories stood out. One was that of Rajiv Bhatisevi, a sixty-nine-year-old businessman, who was booked on the flight but had reluctantly cancelled after his pet chow had bitten him on the arm as he tried to stop it fighting with another dog.The bite became infected and painful.
‘On the day I was supposed to fly to Kathmandu, the pain became almost unbearable,’ he said. ‘Later in the evening, when I turned on the radio to listen to the news, I couldn’t believe my ears, that the plane was missing. All I could say to myself was, “Thank God!”’
But Joe Collins and his wife Tanna – Christian missionaries originally from Greenville, South Carolina – had bought seven seats, for themselves and their five young children, who included eight-month-old twins.
The couple had been in Nepal for eighteen months, and had recently set up a children’s home in Kathmandu. Tanna had contracted typhoid fever, and the family had flown to Thailand where the medical care was better; now that she had recovered, the Collinses were heading back to resume their charity work.
Joe and Tanna Collins with their five young children, April, Caleb, Samuel, Joseph and Daniel; they all perished in the Thai Airways Flight 311 tragedy in 1992.
They died with all others on board when the aircraft flew into a mountainside, the pilots having become disoriented and confused by language difficulties with an air traffic controller.
Note: Macarthur Job himself sadly died last year in Australia. He was a significant figure in the world of aviation, and it was a pleasure to work with him.
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