Flight 902

April 1978. Boeing-707 on the ice of Korpijärvi Lake

On April 20-th 1978 in the region of Kola Peninsula Soviet border was crossed by the passenger Boeing-707-321B (HL7429) Korean Air Lines (KAL) Flight 902 (Paris – Anchorage – Seoul) that was out of its normal route.

The plane was initially recognized by Soviet anti-aircraft defense radars as Boeing-747. Anti-aircraft missiles were prepared ready to strike and interceptor Sukhoy-15TM ("Flegon-F") led by Captain Bosov was sent to intercept the intruder.

According to words of liner commander Kim Chang Ky, the interceptor approached his plane from the right side (the ICAO rules demand that it such cases the interceptor should approach intruder from the left side). Kim Chang Ky declared that he lessened plane speed and switched on landing lights, that meant that he was ready to follow the interceptor for forced landing. Attempts of the Boeing commander to contact with the interceptor on 121.5 MHz were fixed by Rovaniemi (Finland) airport control tower. Soviet official statment was that the plane did not follow the demand for forced landing.

When the interceptor pilot reported that the intruder was boeing-707 and not 747 as it was recognized initially, Soviet command decided that it was electronic spy RC-135 (built on 707 base) and issued an order to eliminate the target.

According the American radio interception Flegon-F pilot for several minutes tried to convince his superiors to cancel the attack, as he had seen already KAL logo on the liner, but after additional order launched two rockets P-60. One of them missed the target but another one exploded, taking off part of the left wing and caused air pressure fall. Two passengers were killed by splinters.

Due to air pressure fall the plane abruptly went down and was lost by Soviet anti-aircraft defense radars. The interceptor pilot also lost it in the clouds.

During the next hour the shot Flight 902 crossed the whole Kola peninsula on the level height, trying to find landing place, and, after several unsuccessful attempts in the evening dusk landed on the ice of Korpijärvi lake, already on Karelian territory. During all this time Soviet anti-aircraft defense did not have any information about the destiny and position of the shot liner.

The USSR refused to coöperate with the international experts in the incident investigation and refused to present "Black Boxes" data. The plane was dismantled and taken away from the lake by parts.

Much later, when the secrecy mist was taken away, the "Black Boxes" data was analyzed and flight map was published. This map shows that on Amsterdam – Anchorage part of the route soon after reaching the Island the plane started wide smooth turn to the right. The turn was too smooth to be intentional and it could be caused only by malfunctioning of navigation equipment.

"Korean Boeings Killer" Sukhoy-15TM was the main actor again in the night from August 31-st to September 1-st when it shot down KAL Boeing 747 Flight 007 New-York – Anchorage – Seoul that also was out of it's course. All 269 passengers were killed.