Tel Aviv's Lydda International Airport was littered with wreckage on Monday (30 November) when an American cargo jet and an Israeli transport aircraft collided on the runway and burst into flames.
Tel Aviv's Lydda International Airport was littered with wreckage on Monday (30 November) when an American cargo jet and an Israeli transport aircraft collided on the runway and burst into flames. Two men were killed and two others injured in the accident.
The three-man crew of the Trans World Airlines Boeing 707 freighter managed to jump clear. Their jet was preparing to take off and the Israeli Stratocruiser was being towed by a tractor when the collision occurred. The airport was closed to all traffic after the accident.
Rescue teams removed one body from the Israeli aircraft after the flames died down. The other man killed was the tractor driver, and the wounded were Israeli ground crew members.
The cargo aircraft was taking 20 tons of agricultural produce and mail to Zurich and Frankfurt. The TWA pilot said that he had received permission to take off from the control tower and was just beginning his take-off roll when he saw the dark shape of the transport aircraft coming in his headlights.
He tried to avoid a crash and pulled his Boeing 707 sharply to the right, and left the runway with his wheels. But his left wing struck the Israeli Stratocruiser, which exploded.
The American crew jumped out of the cockpit and managed to get some distance away before their aircraft went up in flames, the pilot said.
The accident followed several near-collisions in recent months, including one involving an Israeli airliner taking the Prime Minister,, Mrs. Golda Meir, to the United States.
The Transport Minister and the Air Force chief arrived at the airport in the early morning hours following the accident to begin investigation into the circumstances of the collision.