Friday, June 21, 2024 Civil/General Aviation » Accidents - Civil » 1980 - 1989  




04.05.80 F.27 L.A.A. 5A-DDU Aircraft was on the approach for Luqa’s runway 14, when the captain mistook Ta' Qali for Luqa Airport, landing there. He immediately took off for Luqa. (Ta’ Qali is 3-4 miles from, and to the right of, Luqa’s main runway.)
29.12.80 Cessna 210L   D-EOQR c/n 21060323. A/c belly landed on the grass area adjacent to runway 14 due to undercarriage problems, Aircraft lifted onto a flat-top trolley, and taken to an Air Malta hangar for repairs. Undercarriage dropped down of its own accord when aircraft was lifted from the trolley.
17.02.81 HS Trident British Airways G-AWZH Aborted take-off from Luqa airport after one engine caught fire. No deaths/injuries.
12.05.81 HS.125 British Air Ferries G-FIVE Aircraft had arrived on the 11th, departing for Libya in the morning of the 12th, returning later the same day. A photo-report in The Times (of Malta) dated 14.05.81 shows a Malta Police land rover parked in front of the aircraft.
13.10.81 B.737-200 Air Malta PH-TVC Bomb explosion at Cairo Airport caused severe damage to aircraft. Boeing engineers flew in with 22 tons of equipment on 04.11. Repairs included new fuselage behind wing, trailing edge, flaps and controls on one side, as well as the overhauling of both engines, as both had been covered in foam.
27.05.82 B.727-2H3 Tunisair TS-JHU c/n 21318. Diverted to Malta as Tunis air space was closed after the hi-jacking of an Air Maroc 727 CN-RMO on flight AT269.
22.06.82 NA T-6 Harvard   G-ELLY Participant in the Air Rally of Malta. Carried US AF serial number 133867 on fin, TA-867 beneath cockpit. Took off for a local flight. Crashed over the seminary building, at Tal-Virtu, limits of Rabat. Two fatalities.
28.10.82 B.737 Egyptair SU-AYH Diverted due to bad weather. Same aircraft was hi-jacked to Malta on 23.11.85, substantial damage during attempted rescue.
20.02.83 B.727 Libyan Arab Airlines 5A-DII Aircraft hi-jacked during an internal flight between Sebha and Benghazi in Libya by First Lt. Al Tawwati Mansur Al-Mahdi and Lt. Abdessalam Abu Kijla. Asked crew to divert to Khartoum or Morocco, but had to land in Malta (at 20.00 hrs local) due to fuel shortage. Captain attempted to start up and taxi for departure at 21.15 hrs. Vehicles used to block path. No deaths/injuries, hi-jack over at 12.45, local time, on 23.02. Crew and passengers departed for Libya on the 24th in the same aircraft. Hi-jackers remained in Malta for another two months under guard, and although had stated they were seeking political asylum, ended up returning to Libya. Report about hi-jack below.

Accident Report – LAA Hi-jacking

The following report first appeared in the Luqa Aviation Yearbook 1983/84.

The Hi-jacking of a Boeing 727 (5A-DII, Flight No. LN484) of the Libyan Arab Airlines was no run-of-the-mill hijack. There were no political innuendoes about it: it was an escape to freedom.

The drama started on Sunday 20th February, during an internal flight between Sebha and Benghazi which normally takes one and half-hours. The aircraft was flying at 29,000 feet when just about half an hour after take-off, two young men, one wearing a suit and the other an army jacket, described by the airliner’s captain Abdullah Shekhi, 30, of Tripoli, as "nice and friendly looking", walked into the cockpit each carrying a gun and one of them brandishing a hand-grenade. They told the flight crew to divert to Khartoum or Morocco, but the captain replied that with the amount of fuel left, the only feasible destination was the island of Malta.

Whilst very close to Malta, the captain requested permission to land, but the control tower answered that it would only be granted on one condition, namely that all hostages, 161 in all, be released. The captain replied that it all depended upon the hijackers. Permission was eventually granted on the pilot's insistence that they had no fuel to go anywhere else except Malta. The aeroplane made a normal landing on runway 24 at about l9.0O hrs. GMT.

At 2015 hrs. GMT, the aircraft attempted to take off again for no apparent reason and without the tower's permission. In a few seconds all lights at Luqa were switched off and the area doused in complete darkness while motor vehicles blocked its way. The aircraft had to stop on the northern taxiway where it so remained until the end of the drama. The 727 was again floodlit and surrounded by security forces.

The morning after (Monday), negotiations began between the hijackers and the local authorities. The Maltese government demanded the release of the hostages in exchange for aviation fuel. This the hijackers refused, and during the same morning they threatened to fire their revolvers in the air and eventually blow up the aircraft since negotiations had come to a stalemate. Both threats proved untrue, since the next remaining days, no acts of violence whatsoever were carried.

Mr. Mintoff personally, took charge of the negotiations in the afternoon. The Prime Minister spent more than two hours negotiating over the radio, both sides intransigent on the issue. Mr. Mintoff's first demand was the release of all the passengers then he asked for the release of the women and children in exchange for fuel when the hijackers refused his first offer.

On Tuesday a message was relayed to the hijackers that Morocco will not accept them if they do not first release the passengers. The hijackers then wanted to contact the American Embassy which also refused to help them, later they also wanted to contact other Embassies, notably that of West Germany. A Maltese airhostess who was at the time on board the aircraft was asked to relay the Prime Ministers message to the hijackers. Mr. Mintoff asked whether it was possible to send the Maltese hostess to fetch water for the children to relieve them from their thirst as some were suffering from dehydration. To all this, the hijackers politely refused and kept on hanging to their original demands. Some time later a message was received at the tower from the aircraft that a Yugoslav hostess was going to be released. At 13.30 hrs. GMT the woman was seen coming out of the aircraft's cockpit window tied to a rope and was immediately taken to the control tower.

On Wednesday, negotiations were still progress. During the afternoon another message was sent by the hijackers to the tower:

Hijackers: "We do not belong to any extremist or terrorist organisation and we have never taken part in any political activity in or outside Libya. We have hijacked the aircraft not because we like to shed blood or inflict harm on innocent people, but in order to find a country of our own choice, which would give us political asylum. We prefer to die than to go back to Libya."

In the tame message it was stated that they would, release the crew and passengers if they were given "an official statement" for their protection. The Prime Minister then accepted their terms and the passengers were d 15 minutes later at 1245 hrs. GMT.

The aircraft's first class door was opened on the starboard side and the first to come out were the women and children, followed by the hi-jackers and then the remaining passengers. They then boarded an airport bus and were transferred to the former RAF sickbay. The two hijackers were taken to the control tower, who identified them¬selves as First Lt. Al Tawwati Mansur Al-Mahdi and Lt. Abdessalam Abu Kijla, both of the Libyan army. They handed over their weapons plus a hand-grenade, which turned out to be a dummy. Also on board the aircraft were two prisoners escorted be three soldiers, who were being transferred from one prison to another.

After 65 hours crammed on board the Boeing 727, the passengers were now safe. At the sickbay they were given biscuits and tea, and were taken to the Country Hotel also at Luqa.

On Thursday, 24th February, all the passengers and crew were taken back to Libya on the same 727 except for the hijackers who were then taken to the Task Force Headquarters under tight security. They spent the following two months in Malta after which they returned to Libya. Before their departure, the hijackers, surrounded by Task Force personnel gave a short press conference in which they explained the reasons for hi-jacking Boeing 727 as being due to “family troubles”.
25.04.83 B. 720 Air Malta 9H-AAN Aircraft was performing the KM108 flight to Rome. Forced to return due to a false engine alarm.
19.06.83 Partenavia P-68C   G-NEWU Pilot, participating in the Malta Air Rally, was forced to shut down one engine after passing Gozo due to low fuel levels.
26.12.83 Mooney M.20C   G-BFXC Pilot took off from 24, and came in for a landing on 32. Aircraft bumped heavily on landing, pilot losing control, ending up on the grass next to the runway. No injuries, aircraft not damaged. A similar accident happened to this aircraft later in the year in September. Later re-registered 9H-ABD.
14.01.84 A. 300-B4-2C Air Algerie D-AIBB Night landing. Aircraft took wrong (narrow) taxi-way, the undercarriage sinking in the wet soil. Aircraft freed after three hours.
21.02.84 B.727 L.A.A. 5A-DIG On the Rome-Tripoli flight (LN127). Diverted to refuel.
17.03.84 HS. Trident 3 British G-AWZJ Aircraft developed engine trouble, remaining in Malta until the 19th.
21.06.84 B.707 West Coast Airlines 9G-ACY Diverted to Malta after reporting technical problems when performing flight LN1921. Dep the following day.
26.06.84 DHC-6 Tunisavia TS-LIB Blew starboard tire on landing, forcing closure of runway 32/14. Aircraft departed later in the evening.
05.07.84 DHC-6 Tunisavia TS-LIB Aircraft developed a technical fault prior to departure from Malta. Remained in Malta until the 8th.
12.08.84 Partinavia P68B Victor   I-TIZY Diverted to Malta during a Bolognia – Pantalleria flight due to an engine problem. Left on the 15TH(?) Pilot tried to find a person going to Italy willing to pay for the fuel.
15.09.84 B.737 British Airways G-BGDU Departed on flight BA553 at 15.30 local, but returned to Malta after developing technical problems. Finally left at 23.20 local.
20.09.84 Piper PA-31 Navajo   N65220 Pilot reported undercarriage problems during a test flight, after only two green lights came on. Flew close to control tower who reported all three wheels were down.
10.10.84 DC-9 Alitalia I-DIBN Aircraft was on normal scheduled service, AZ490/1. Made two overshoots, then returned to Rome.
11.10.84   Air Malta   Crew of flight KM229 reported hearing rock music on 110.5 MHz instead of receiving the DME. Flight landed safely.
17.10.84 DHC-4A   N5488R Aircraft developed in-flight problems on its first post-overhaul test flight. Problems solved, but pilot decided to abort test flight.
29.10.84 Cessna 402B   I-ASAN Left five hours later than planned due to bad weather.
08.11.84   Air Malta   Flight Km161 had to divert to Catania due to zero visibility at Malta.
21.01.85 Fokker F.27 L.A.A. 5A-D__ Aircraft suffered bird strike on take-off, but continued to Libya.
26.04.85       Radio/telephone contact was lost with Rome, Libya, Tunis and Greece.
24.05.85     D-__ZM Aircraft made a circuit over airport as pilot couldn’t see runway at night prior to landing on runway 14.
05.06.85 B.720 Air Malta 9H-AAK Pilot reported unable to climb properly, and returned to Luqa after 45 minutes of flight. Flight KM120 departed four hours later.
11.06.85 B.727 Tunis Air TS-JHW Diverted to Malta as Tunis Airport was closed due to a hi-jacked ALIA B.727 (JY-AFW).
11.06.85 A.310 Kuwait Airways 9K-AHA Diversion due to ALIA hi-jack at Tunis.
15.06.85 An-12 Balkan Cargo LZ-BAB Diversion on a Tunis-Algeria flight.
20.07.85 Tu-154 Aeroflot CCCP-_____ Diversion due to bad weather at Tripoli.
23.07.85 Tu-154 Aeroflot CCCP-85553 Diversion due to bad weather at Tripoli.
23.07.85 Tu-154 Aeroflot CCCP-85409 Diversion due to bad weather at Tripoli.
17.10.85 B.707 Anglo Cargo G-BDEA Two missed approaches due to technical problems. Safe landing on third attempt.
23.11.85 B.737 Egyptair SU-AYH Aircraft hi-jacked after departing from Athens. Landed in Malta late in the night. Attempts by Egyptian commandos, flown in on C-130 SU-BEW/1290, to storm the aircraft and rescue the passenger failed miserably, resulting in 60 deaths, and the capture of only one of the hi-jackers. Aircraft severely damaged during rescue attempt. Remained at park 4 until towed to Park 2 on 04.05.87. Engines removed shortly afterwards. Aircraft scrapped at Luqa airport.
15.04.86 B.707 Bangladesh S2-ACF Diversion due to US attack on Tripoli. Aircraft departed later the same day.
14.07.86 DHC-4A   5Y-BEU Ex-Kenya AF. Engine failure 200 miles from Malta. Safe landing at Luqa.
03.10.86 DC-8-54F Trans Arabian Air Transport ST-AJR Diverted to Malta at 17.30 hours after pilot was informed that he had no authorization to land in Libya. Aircraft departed the following day.
29.10.86 B.707   5A-DIY Diverted to Malta due to bad weather over northern Libya. Aircraft didn’t have any airline markings.
29.10.86 B.727 L.A.A. 5A-DIF Diverted to Malta due to bad weather over northern Libya.
29.10.86 D. Falcon 20 L.A.A. 5A-DAG Diverted to Malta due to bad weather over northern Libya.
29.10.86 Fokker F.28 L.A.A. 5A-DLV Diverted to Malta due to bad weather over northern Libya.
29.10.86 Fokker F.28 L.A.A. 5A-DLW Diverted to Malta due to bad weather over northern Libya.
19.03.87 A.310-202 KLM PH-AGE c/n 283. Diverted on a Tripoli-Amsterdam flight on. Departed the following morning.
21.03.87 P. PA-32-260 Cherokee Six Ramstein Aero Club N3092Q Departed Malta for Germany via Ajaccio. Aircraft was passed to Rome air traffic control, contact being lost when 120 miles from Ajaccio, although pilot did not report any problems. The four people on board are presumed dead.

Accident Report – P. PA-32-260 Cherokee Six, N3092Q

The Malta Aviation Society newsletter of the time had the following about the disappearance of this aircraft.

This incident, apart from no distress call being made, has another strange note about it. The US Embassy in Malta on Thursday, 26th March, made a request through the local media, for a US citizen, Richard Gibson, to contact the US Consular section immediately. Gibson had come to Malta on the Cherokee with the other four persons, all US citizens, who went missing with their aircraft. Reliable sources said that Gibson checked out of his hotel the day before the plane went on its ill-fated flight. Nothing more has since been hear of the incident. Cherokee N3092Q was based at Ramstein Aeroclub.
19.07.87 Partinavia P.64 Oscar   I-PLAY Aircraft departed from Malta, but ditched into sea after running out of fuel.
03.08.87 DHC-4A   N95NC Aircraft had to shut down port engine on delivery flight to Malta from Spain. Safe landing, no injuries.
Aug/Sept 87 Socata Rallye 150 Luqa Flying Group 9H-AAY Aircraft veered off runway during take-off. No injuries, but aircraft had to be towed to hangar.
01.03.88 B.727-2H3 Tunis Air TS-JHW c/n 21320. Diversion, cause unknown.
01.03.88 B.727 Lufthansa D-ABKD Crew were conducting pilot training. Gust of wind during touch-and-go tipped the left wing, hitting the runway, damaging the leading-edge flap. Damage noted during examination on the ground. No injuries, but flap had to be replaced.
__.08.88 B.727   N502AV On lease to Air Malta, the aircraft went u/s and was replaced for 2 days by ZAS B.707 SU-DAB between 04-05.08.88.
09.03.88 B.727-2H3 Tunis Air TS-JHN c/n 20545. Diversion, cause unknown.
19.09.88 A. 320 BA G-BUSC BA’s night flight was delayed until mid afternoon, c/s BA554/5. c/n 0008.
10.11.88 An-12 Balkan Cargo LZ-BAE Aircraft landed on runway 24 at night in rain. At the end of the runway, the pilot turned too sharply onto the taxiway, with the result that the aircraft veered off the concrete, and the nose wheel and starboard wheel bogey sinking in the soft earth. Aircraft remained in place until morning, when metal planking was placed underneath the wheels. Engines were started, and considerable power had to be applied before the aircraft managed to free itself.
08.12.88       Strong easterly winds, gusting up to 60 knots, forced many airlines to divert to Palermo.
10.12.88 Ayres S2R Turbo Thrush Agricair Z-WKH Arrived with six other types, but technical problems delayed its departure until the 18th. The other aircraft departed on the 11th.
11.12.88 DC-8 A.S.C. C-FCWW Diverted to re-fuel on flight Saudi 8488.
27.07.89     I-NPCA Aircraft denied permission to land at Tripoli, diverted to Malta.
29.08.89 Cessna 421B Eagle Aviation 9H-ABN Aircraft made a single–engine landing.
03.10.89 A.300-B4 Alitalia I-BUSL Aircraft had to abandon take-off at 19.05 due to undercarriage warning light in cockpit. Captain returned to terminal. Departed later at 21.50.
23.11.89 B.737-200 Lufthansa D-ABFS Aircraft abandoned take-off to avoid a possible bird strike. Aircraft left later in the afternoon.
22.11.89 DHC-4A   N84899 Emergency landing after port under-carriage failed to lower during test flight (over Malta). Aircraft suffered little damage and was repaired. Departed on 15 Dec 89.
27.12.89 Ce. 421B Eagle Aviation 9H-ABN Aircraft damaged beyond repair in crash on approach to landing at Zurich, Switzerland.
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