Linate Airport disaster: Wikis


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Linate Airport disaster
Accident summary
Date 8 October 2001 (2001-10-08)
Type Runway collision
Site Linate Airport
Milan, Italy
Total injuries 4 (all on ground)
Total fatalities 118 (including 4 on ground)
First aircraft
Type McDonnell-Douglas MD-87
Name Lage Viking
Operator SAS
Tail number SE-DMA
Passengers 104
Crew 6
Survivors 0
Second aircraft
Type Cessna Citation II
Operator Private
Tail number D-IEVX
Passengers 2
Crew 2
Survivors 0

The Linate Airport disaster occurred on 8 October 2001, at Linate Airport in Milan, Italy.

Scandinavian Airlines Flight 686, an MD-87 plane carrying 110 people and headed to Copenhagen, Denmark, collided on take-off with a Cessna Citation II (registration D-IEVX) business jet carrying four, heading to Paris, France. All 114 people on board the two aircraft were killed, as were four on the ground; a further four people on the ground were injured.



Reconstruction of the disaster (click to enlarge).
An SAS MD-87 similar to SE-DMA Lage Viking

The accident occurred in thick fog, with visibility reduced to less than 200 m.

The Cessna Citation was instructed to taxi from the western apron along the northern taxiway (taxiway R5), and then via the northern apron to the main taxiway which runs parallel to the main runway, a route that would have kept it clear of the main runway. Instead, the pilot taxied along the southern taxi route (taxiway R6), crossing the main runway towards the main taxiway which lay beyond it (see diagram).

At 08:09:28 the SAS MD-87, under the control of a different controller to the Cessna, was given clearance to take off from runway 36R. 53 seconds later the SAS aircraft, traveling at about 270 km/h, collided with the Cessna. All four in the Cessna were killed on impact. The MD-87 lost its right engine; the pilot, Joakim Gustafsson from Sweden, attempted to take off, reaching an altitude of approximately 12 m (35 ft). The remaining engine lost some thrust due to debris ingestion, and the plane, having lost the starboard landing gear, came down. Gustafsson applied thrust reverser and brakes, and tried to guide the plane through its control surfaces. The maneuver was judged so skillful that it is now incorporated into SAS technical manuals[citation needed]. All this was insufficient to halt the jet's momentum, and it crashed into a luggage hangar located near the runway's end, at a speed of approximately 251 km/h. In the impact, all the MD-87's crew and passengers were killed. The crash and subsequent fire killed four Italian ground personnel [1] in the hangar, and injured four more.

Of the occupants of the SAS aircraft, 54 (46%), mainly in the back of the aircraft, suffered severe burns; their bodies were identified using odontology or DNA records. Those in the front of the aircraft suffered severe blunt trauma. [1]


The accident occurred less than a month after the 11 September 2001 and the day after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan began, but SAS was quick to rule out a terrorist attack as the cause.[2][3][4][5] This was subsequently confirmed by the investigations that followed.

The accident was investigated by the Agenzia Nazionale per la Sicurezza del Volo (ANSV). Its final report was published on January 20, 2004, and concluded that the "immediate cause" of the accident was the incursion of the Cessna aircraft on to the active runway. However, the ANSV stopped short of placing the blame unequivocally on the Cessna pilots, its report having identified a number of deficiencies in the airport layout and procedures.[6][7]

Linate Airport was operating without a functioning ground radar system at the time, despite having had a system delivered some years beforehand, which had not been fully installed. The new system finally came online a few months later. Guidance signs along the taxiways were later found to not meet regulations; after mistakenly turning onto the R6 taxiway that led to the runway, there were no signs by which the Cessna pilots could recognize where they were. When they stopped at a taxiway stop-marking and correctly reported its identifier (S4), the ground controller disregarded this identification because it was not on his maps and was unknown to him. Furthermore, both pilots of D-IEVX were not certified for landings with visibility less than 550 m, but had landed at the airport anyway a few minutes before the disaster.

On 16 April 2004, a Milan court found four persons guilty for the disaster. Airport director Vincenzo Fusco and air-traffic controller Paolo Zacchetti were both sentenced to eight years in prison; sentences of six and a half years were given to Sandro Gualano, former head of the air traffic controllers' agency, and Francesco Federico, former head of the airport.[8] In the Second Grade process (July 7, 2006), Fusco and Federico were discharged. Another four people were sentenced. The pardon law issued by the Italian Parliament on July 29, 2006 reduced all convictions by three years. On 20 February 2007 the Corte di Cassazione upheld the decision of the Appeal Court.


The victims included nationals of ten different states, the majority of them Italian.[1][9]

Nationality SAS 686 Cessna Ground Total
Passengers Crew Passengers Crew
 Denmark 16 2 18
 Finland 6 1 7
 Germany 2 2
 Italy 58 2 4 64
 Norway 3 3
 Romania 1 1
 South Africa 1 1
 Sweden 17 3 20
 United Kingdom 1 1
 United States 1 1
Total 104 6 2 2 4 118


The Bosco dei Faggi.

In March 2002 a forest containing 118 beeches called Bosco dei Faggi was inaugurated as a memorial to the victims in the Forlanini Park near the airport. A sculpture by the Swedish artist Christer Bording donated by SAS, called Infinity Pain, was placed in the centre of the forest.

The disaster devastated the Swedish go-kart community as some of the country's most promising young drivers were on the flight after having attended an event in Milan. After the disaster, the Swedish national motorsports club started a memorial fund together with some of the relatives. The fund awards annual stipends to promising Swedish youth in go-kart.[10]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Schmitt, Aurore, Eugenia Cunha, and João Pinheiro. Forensic Anthropology And Medicine. Humana Press. 440
  2. ^ Jets collide on Milan runway; 118 killed, USA Today
  3. ^ Scores die in runway blaze, BBC
  4. ^ Broken radar was factor in Italian crash, BBC
  5. ^ SAS backs Linate over safety, CNN
  6. ^ Final accident report - Agenzia Nazionale per la Sicurezza del Volo
  7. ^ Italian Report on the disaster (Italian)
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ "British plane crash victims named." BBC. Wednesday 10 October 2001. Retrieved on 20 January 2010.
  10. ^ Home page. Anecto Racing. Retrieved on 9 February 2009.

External links

Coordinates: 45°26′54″N 009°16′36″E / 45.44833°N 9.27667°E / 45.44833; 9.27667



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