Mystery of Aer Lingus Flight 712        

British Missile Strike & Commercial Cover-up in 1968?


Back ] Home ] Next ]

Military Collisions and Near Misses with Civil Aircraft

Over the years there have been numerous recorded and proven near misses and collisions between civil aircraft and the military. While this is not an exhaustive examination of all reported incidents, it does lend creedence to the distinct possibility that Aer Lingus Flight712 was downed by either a British missile, drone or aircraft.

1980 - June 27- 20:56hrs. An Italian DC-9-15 from the Itavia company on a flight from Bologna to Palermo on Sicily crashed into the Mediterranean killing all 81 on board. The following day some aircraft debris was found near the island of Ustica while the main body had sunk to a depth of 3,500 meters. Autopsies on the dead from the crash site indicated an external explosion or impact as the cause of death with fragments of the DC9 undercarriage found in the bodies. Metallurgical analysis of fragments from the bodies and parts of the recovered aircraft indicated an explosive device was used with a military missile suspected.

An anonymous military source, who contacted an Italian journalist the night of the crash, claimed that the plane was hit by a missile. At an inquest ten years later, a sergeant at a military control centre admitted that he had seen the plane disappear off the screen. Previously it had been categorically denied that the military had kept the plane under surveillance. The plane's radar echo was followed, on a parallel course, by another target. Then it was hit by a third object on a crossing trajectory and the resulting cascade of debris, seen on radar, was thrown in the same direction as the crossing object had moved. Source: The Sunday Times, May 5,1991.

Reports since have confirmed that this was caused by a US aircraft 'Sidewinder' missile "acidentally fired" - full information to be posted here shortly.

1982 - February 21: An Alitalia DC9 almost collided with an un-identified object at 27,000 feet. The unknown object exploded near the aircraft without causing any damage. Passengers on board described the object as a "fast-moving projectile, like a missile".Source: The Sunday Times, May 5, 1991

March 11, a Norwegian registered Twin Otter with 15 people crashed off Honningsvåg in the northern part of Norway. The plane was en route between Berlevåg and Mehamn when it crashed into the sea killing all aboard. Initially the pilot was blamed but two witnesses reported having seen a fighter-like plane in the area seconds before the the crash. One of the witnesses, Selius Samuelsen, said he saw two airplanes "melt together".

The chairman of the investigation committee, Lieutenant General Wilhelm Mohr, emphatically denied that any Norwegian or NATO airpcraft were in the area. According to the Narvik newspaper Fremover, a radar plot of the incident showed another echo on parallel course with the Twin Otter shortly before the accident and that the two plots crossed each other at the place of the accident.

"There is no doubt that the Twin Otter was hit by a NATO plane," says journalist Oddvar Kristoffersen of the Fremover newspaper, who has spent a long time investigating what really happened. Kristoffersen is convinced that the official explanations and the two crash investigations have been laid in order to protect NATO interests. Source: Kristoffersen, Oddvar; Ingen kjent trafikk. J.W. Cappelen, 1988.

1985 - August 15: A Greek Olympic Airways Boeing 727 aircraft (flight OA 132) with 61 passengers on board had a close encounter with a missile on route from Zurich to Athens, while passing the Swiss-Italian border.

At 16.05 hours, the pilot contacted Linate control tower reporting that he had just seen a projectile without wings pass by, from left to right. The Boeing 727 was flying in air corridor "Amber 14" on a southeasterly course at 7,500 meters altitude. It was just preparing an ascent when the missile passed by, only some 60-150 meters below the aircraft. The missile was dark brown, or black, and a couple of meters long. The passengers on board knew nothing about the near-hit.

In the investigation that followed, it was discovered that the Swiss military had shortly before ended a military maneuver in the St. Gottard area with civilian air traffic being closed off. However, a spokesmen said the exercises were only with Army units and did not involve missiles. The Swiss military had three rocket systems available at the time: Bloodhound, Rapier and Sidewinder and none had been actively used from Swiss territory. The Swiss Sidewinders have only been tested at the north-Swedish missile test area near Vidsel (sometimes used by the military forces of other neutral countries). Judging from it's direction of flight, the projectile must have come from the Italian side of the border. Italian authorities denied knowledge of any military tests. The missile had, reportedly, not shown up on military radar and neither Italy nor NATO had anything going on that could explain the sighting.

Source: Il Giornale and La Republica, August 17, 1985

August 18. A similar incident occurred in Sweden. Four civilian pilots were flying a Cessna on a southerly course along the Swedish east coast, near Söderhamn, when they discovered a missile like object, some six meters long, on a counter course. "We were flying on about 1.000 meters between Umeå and Gävle when one of us suddenly spotted something glistening in the sun over the woods in front of us," says Per Lundqvist, who piloted the aircraft. "Coming closer we saw that it was a metallic missile with steering fins at the back. Now and then it changed it's course according to the terrain and I interpreted this as if it was following the power lines below us….Since we had become curious I dived down towards the missile and turned our plane to try to follow, but this was impossible. We simply didn't have the engine power to compete with the object. It disappeared from us at an altitude of a few hundred meters."

The four pilots reported the incident to the military who attempted, in vain, for a six month period to identify the object. However, no one from the defense authorities made direct contact with the pilots after their first report.

Source: Dagens Nyheter, May 24, 1991

1987 - June 25th: Delta Airlines flight 1083 on a scheduled service between Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Atlanta, Georgia spotted a small missile heading straight for the Boeing 737 and its 60 passengers, before passing to the side and some 500-600 feet below the aircraft. The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) report on the incident, released soon after incident stated:

"The captain reported the missile had a short 4" squatty "Homemade" appearance. He described the projectile as approximately 4-6 feet long with large fins attached which ran halfway up its length. The main body of the missile was a white and yellow color and the fins were a beige to brown color. He said It appeared to be descending and unpowered when it passed below him. The pilot stated that he took no evasive action."

The object was reported by the newspapers (contrary to the FAA report) to have been moving "at high speed," in a northerly direction. Pilot Cantrell said he saw no exhaust from the missile. In a routine manner a Pentagon spokesman denied anything military could explain the sighting.

Source: FAA report obtained by Stan Gordon, PASU. Newspaper articles, June 27.

1991 - June 1: A Britannia Airways Boeing 737 from Dublin to London-Heathrow descending at 8,000 feet on a heading of 110 degrees. The two pilots both saw the unknown object for a very short period of only 1-2 seconds. It was seen through the windscreen and disappeared very rapidly down the port side. The flight officer described the missile as a yellow-orange cylindrical body with a possible "wrinkled appearance". The size was estimated to be about 10 feet. The pilots theorized that it might have been a meteorological balloon, but the closure rate seemed very rapid for a stationary object. The CAA committee considered the weather balloon theory improbable, but one member thought that the "wrinkled" appearance of the body could suggest an advertising balloon that had broken away, although none had been reported. The case is still considered unidentified.

June 17:

Four passengers on board Dan Air flight DA 4700 from London (Gatwick) to Hamburg saw yet another of the unknown missiles on June 17, 1991. The wingless projectile passed below and to the left (north) of the Boeing 737. The missile appeared to be flying at an altitude of 4-5,000 feet just above the cloud layer. In Hamburg, the passengers notified the flight crew and a report was written. The main witness was German engineer Walter Liess. He was seated by a window and saw, at about 1830 hours, a flying object without wings and with no vapour trail.

"The object was slender, grey, and, so it seemed, sort of cigar-shaped. Its flightpath was on a parallel with ours but diametrically opposed. The object flew over the cloud-deck and under our aircraft; the object seemed to oscillate in altitude. It's possible the object was standing still and only gave the impression of movement (i.e. relative motion). The object was estimated to be visible for 2-3 minutes." The Dan Air crew had not seen the object, but three other passengers did.

July 15:

A Britannia Airways Boeing 737 on a holiday flight from Crete to Gatwick (London) had a similar encounter at 17.45 hours in the evening. Descending at 15,000 feet the co-pilot caught sight of a "small black lozenge shaped object" some 500 meters ahead and above. The object was on a collision course and within two seconds it passed the aircraft's wing at a distance of only 100 meters at less than 10 meters above the wing. No impact or "wake" was felt by the crew and the passengers were not alerted. The pilot assessed the risk of collision as high.

When reported to the London Air Traffic Control Center the missile was picked up on radar moving away from the aircraft. It was moving at 100 miles per hour in a southeasterly direction and was no known traffic since it had no transponder to identify it. Another aircraft was warned since the unknown target appeared to change heading towards it, but the other craft saw nothing. The radar target might, however, have been a helicopter on a lower level.

The sighted object was very small, some 1.5 feet in diameter, very smooth and roundish. A balloon, meteorological or toy, was suspected but this does not conform with the radar reports of an object moving at 100 m.p.h. - if that was the unknown object. The official report still regarded the unknown object as "untraced". [16]

1992 - August 5. United Airlines' flight 934 en route from Los Angeles to London when the sighting occurred some 50 miles NE of George Air Force Base at about 13.45 in the afternoon. The 747 at 23,000 feet departing from Los Angeles on a 40 degree heading. Suddenly an unusual aircraft came directly towards the aircraft and passed under them at an estimated distance of 500-1,000 feet. During several seconds the crew got the impression of "a lifting body configuration, and they described it as looking like the forward fuselage of a Lockheed SR-71 - without wings but with a tail of sorts." The edges of the fuselage were rounded instead of sharp. The size was estimated to be similar to an F-16 (some 50 feet long). Speed was considered as supersonic. The Defence Department and the Air Force denied any knowledge.


Data courtesy of Clas Svahn and Anders Liljegren, Sweden

David Lisk [ ]