Saturday, July 19, 2014

Tale of 2 Missing Black Boxes

Korean Air Lines Flight 007 (also known as KAL007 and KE007 was a scheduled Korean Air Lines flight from New York City to Seoul via Anchorage. On September 1, 1983, the airliner serving the flight was shot down by a Soviet Su-15 interceptor near Moneron Island, west of Sakhalin Island, in the Sea of Japan. The interceptor's pilot was Major Gennadi Osipovich. All 269 passengers and crew aboard were killed, including Lawrence McDonald, representative from Georgia in the United States House of Representatives. The aircraft was en route from Anchorage to Seoul when it flew through prohibited Soviet airspace around the time of a U.S. reconnaissance mission.

The Soviet Union initially denied knowledge of the incident, but later admitted the shooting, claiming that the aircraft was on a spy mission. The Politburo said it was a deliberate provocation by the United States to test the Soviet Union's military preparedness, or even to provoke a war. The White House accused the Soviet Union of obstructing search and rescue operations. The Soviet military suppressed evidence sought by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) investigation, notably the flight data recorders, which were eventually released eight years later after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The incident was one of the tensest moments of the Cold War and resulted in an escalation of anti-Soviet sentiment, particularly in the United States. The opposing points of view on the incident were never fully resolved. Consequently, several groups continue to dispute official reports and offer alternative theories of the event. The subsequent release of KAL 007 flight transcripts and flight recorders by the Russian Federation has clarified some details.

Almost 31 years later Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17 has been shot down in eastern part of Ukraine about 50 odd kms short of Russian border. Black box has been missing from the scene. There are almost no chances of this piece of equipment being exhumed as they are designed to withstand the impact upto 3400 g and survive water, ice and fire with little or no damage to the data.

Fingers are being pointed at pro-Russian rebels, but downing a passenger jet is no easy task atleast for non mainstream and unorganized group of fighters(unless they have acquired artillery or surface to air missiles or missile wielding fighter jets). Can they still be called rebels???

Another funny coincidence: MH-17, shot down on 17th July at about 1700 hours… Should we say Unlucky 17!!!