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Remember # Swissair SR316

Date 07 oct 1979 / 22h15 LT ... 42 years ago we do not forget the sad anniversary of SR316

Flight ZRH - GVA - ATH - BOM - PEK .

...was Sunday night of October 7th 1979, when the Swissair DC-8 HB-IDE crashed while attempting to land on bad weather at Athens-Ellinikon International Airport (LGAT). Of the 154 passengers and crew on board, 14 were killed in the accident.

Swissair Flight 316 was an international scheduled passenger service from Zurich, Switzerland to Peking, China (now Beijing) via Geneva, Athens, and Bombay. The aircraft, DC-8-62 HB-IDE named Uri, was piloted by Captain "Fritz Schmutz" and First Officer "Martin Deuringer".

Operator: Swissair

Registration: HB-IDE / Msn: 45919/312 / Year built:1967 / Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney JT3D-

Flight 316 touched down Athens RWY15L at a speed of 146 knots (270 km/h; 168 mph). The aircraft decelerated but overran the wet runway and came to rest on a public road. The left wing and tail separated and fire broke out. 14 out of the 154 passengers could not leave the burning aircraft. 100 were doctors on their way to a medical convention in China.

Crew: 0 fatalities / 12 on board

Passengers:14 fatalities / 142 on board

Total:14 fatalities / 154 on board

The accident investigation determined that:

The aircraft touched down 740 m past the displaced threshold of runway 15L (2240 m before the end). The DC-8 touched down at a speed of 146 knots, decelerated but overran the end of the runway. The left wing and tail separated before the aircraft came to rest on a public road some 80 m beyond the end of the runway and 4 m below airport elevation. A fire broke out on the right side and spread quickly. All 14 victims died due to smoke or fire and were all seated at rows 21-26.


"The crew touched down the aircraft too late, at a speed higher than normal after a non-stabilized final approach. The crew did not fully apply the braking systems (wheel brakes and reverse thrust) particularly the wheel brakes after a touchdown under known adverse conditions, so that it was not possible to stop the aircraft at least before the end of the overrun area."

Note: the member of the Operations team of the Accident Investigation Committee had a different opinion from the rest of the Committee regarding the cause of the accident. That is:

"After a non-stabilized approach a too-late touchdown at an increased speed was not realized by the crew. Contributing was the fact that the company's recommended technique concerning 'landing when braking action is less than good' was not followed by the crew. Wheel brake application was not fully utilized by the crew at the proper stage of rolling after touchdown. Reverse thrust application was not fully utilized by the crew at the proper stage of rolling after touchdown.


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