Surviving passengers from the South Korean airliner, which was forced to crash-land in the Soviet Union, are on their way home.
Surviving passengers from the South Korean airliner, which was forced to crash-land in the Soviet Union, are on their way home. The aircraft which took them out of the Soviet Union landed in Tokyo on Monday (24 April).
SYNOPSIS: All the crashed airliner's passengers, and all but two of the crew, were allowed onto the rescue aircraft, as were the bodies of two people killed in the crash. In all, 110 people were flown out, but the South Korean pilot and navigator are being held for questioning inside the Soviet Union, reportedly in Leningrad. President Park of South Korea has sent a message to the Soviet Union, expressing thanks for the quick release of passengers and crew, and asking for speedy repatriation of the captain and navigator. President Park said it was obvious from reports that the South Korean airliner had gone into Soviet airspace by mistake, and not deliberately. He said the two men should be released immediately on humanitarian grounds.
Passengers told newsmen at Tokyo airport they had seen a Soviet fighter fire a missile at their Korean Air Lines Boeing Seven-oh-seven, forcing it to crash-land on a frozen lake in the Arctic north of the Soviet Union.
The missile is understood to have exploded away from the aircraft and that damage was caused by fragments piercing the aircraft's fuselage. Two of the 97 passengers were killed.