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Transcript

Tenerife Airplane CRash

  • When and where did the disaster occur?
  • What was the situation leading up to it?

Background

Causes

Immediate Impact

Long Term Effects

Response and Recovery

Legacy

  • What caused the disaster?
  • Was it a natural event, human error, or a combination of factors?

  • What happened during the disaster?
  • Who or what was affected?

  • What were the lasting impacts on the environment, economy, and communities?

  • How did local, national, and international communities respond?
  • What measures were taken to manage and recover from the disaster?

  • How is the Disaster remembered today?
  • What lasting Impact has it had?

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  • On March 27th, 2007, 30 years after the disaster, a first time ever official international memorial service for the largest aviation disaster in history was held on the initiative of the Foundation for the Surviving Relatives of the Tenerife Disaster.
  • The international commemoration consisted of two parts: a memorial service and the unveiling of an international monument. The memorial service was held at the Auditorio de Tenerife in the capital Santa Cruz; the unveiling took place on Mt Mesa Mota in the municipality of San Cristóbal de La Laguna. The ceremonies were attended by Dutch and American next of kin and survivors, as well as Spanish aid workers and others who were involved in the disaster.

How is the Disaster remembered today and what lasting Impact has it had?

Environmental impacts:

  • Pollutant Dispersion: The smoke and combustion by-products dispersed into the atmosphere quickly, with no significant long-term air quality issues reported.
  • Soil and Water Contamination: While there was initial contamination from aviation fuel and other chemicals, cleanup operations would have mitigated long-term soil and water impacts. Specific data on lasting contamination is not widely documented, indicating any long-term environmental damage was likely minimal.

What were the lasting impacts on the environment, economy, and communities?

Economic impacts:

  • Tourism: Tenerife is a major tourist destination, and the crash initially caused a decline in tourist numbers due to safety concerns. However, the long-term impact on tourism was mitigated as safety measures improved, and visitor confidence was restored.
  • Airport Operations: The crash highlighted the need for improved airport infrastructure and management. Investments were made to enhance air traffic control systems, runway management, and emergency response capabilities, which had lasting economic implications for the aviation industry.

Community impacts:

  • Trauma and Grief: The disaster resulted in the deaths of 583 people, leaving lasting psychological trauma for the victims' families and the local community. Memorials and commemorative events continue to remind the community of the tragedy.
  • Safety Culture: The crash had a significant impact on aviation safety culture, leading to changes in international aviation regulations, improvements in pilot training, communication protocols, and emergency response procedures. These changes have had a long-lasting positive impact on global aviation safety, preventing similar tragedies.

  • A massive explosion followed by a ball of fire erupted at Los Rodeos airport, Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, in dense fog as both airliners were taxiing for take-off at 1800 local time.
  • The sound of the explosion was heard across the island.

What happened during and who or what was affected?

No-one survived from the Dutch airliner which was carrying 249 passengers including crew, and was travelling from Schipol airport, Amsterdam

The Pan-Am plane was a charter flight carrying 16 crew and 378 passengers and there were said to be about 60 survivors, the majority of whom were injured. In total 583 people died in the blaze that followed the collision.

  • Heavy fog had settled in, greatly reducing visibility on the airport's single runway. This made the taxiing and takeoff procedures much more difficult.
  • The KLM flight was cleared for takeoff, but before it could take off, the Pan Am flight entered the runway, causing the KLM pilot to try to take off without full clearance.
  • In the thick fog, the KLM pilot could not see the Pan Am aircraft on the runway. The KLM Boeing 747 crashed into the side of the slower-moving Pan Am aircraft, resulting in the deaths of 583 people - the deadliest accident in aviation history at the time.

What caused it and Was it a natural event, human error, or a combination of factors?

  • Locally, emergency services were mobilised quickly to handle the aftermath, although the airport's limited resources and infrastructure were initially overwhelmed.
  • Nationally, Spanish authorities launched an investigation and coordinated with international experts.
  • Internationally, the crash prompted a reevaluation of aviation safety protocols. Rescue efforts were complicated by heavy fog, but local responders managed to pull survivors from the wreckage.
  • The disaster led to significant changes in air traffic control procedures, including standardized phraseology and the implementation of the "sterile cockpit" rule, aimed at minimizing distractions during critical flight phases. International aviation organizations, such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), collaborated to improve runway safety and communication between pilots and air traffic controllers, preventing similar tragedies in the future.

How did local, national, and international communities respond and What measures were taken to manage and recover from the disaster?

  • Tenerife airline disaster, runway collision of KLM and Pan Am Boeing 747s on the runway at Tenerife due to poor visibility and miscommunication on March 27, 1977. Both planes involved in the crash had been scheduled to depart from Las Palmas on the island of Gran Canaria.
  • Two Boeing 747 passenger jets, one operated by KLM and the other by Pan Am, were on the ground at Los Rodeos Airport. This airport had limited capacity and was being used as an alternate after the main Tenerife airport was closed due to a bomb threat.

When and where did it occur and what was the situation leading up to it?