Worst airplane disaster: Canary islands; KLM - Pan Am jets collide: 583 die

March 27, 1977. Two Boeing 747s collide on a fog-shrouded runway at Tenerife in the Canary Islands, killing 583 people in the worst accident in aviation history. Sixty-one people survive.

The planes — Pan Am flight 1736 originating in Los Angeles and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight 4805, a charter from Amsterdam — crashed into each other on Los Rodeos Airport's single runway.

Visibility on the ground was poor, limited to 1,000 feet or so, but many other factors led to the disaster. Muddled instructions, malfunctioning runway lights and an overcrowded airport played roles, too, but perhaps the major factor was pilot error, specifically the bad judgment exercised by the Dutch captain.

The Pan Am plane before the collision.

The KLM plane before it ended up in an inferno

A photo taken minutes before the collision

A computer generated image of the crash

Dante's Inferno? The horrific aftermath. Just a few lucky people survived.

A Spanish police officer guards the wreckage


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Points To Ponder


It is difficult to distinguish between the quality of both the German and Russian soldiers. Both were motivated by their love for their motherland. But there were others factors that drove the two sides to such desperate fighting.

One, both sides knew that this was a no-holds bar war. Not fighting was thus not an option.

Second, both Hitler and Stalin had squads that killed any deserter. Turning away from fighting was just not possible.

Thus was seen some of the most bitter, brutal and desperate fighting on the WW2 eastern (Russian) Front.
"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
-- George Santayana


"Be polite; write diplomatically; even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When the enemy advances, withdraw; when he stops, harass; when he tires, strike; when he retreats, pursue.'
--Mao Zedong


"The main thing is to make history, not to write it."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite."
--Winston Churchill


"In time of war the loudest patriots are the greatest profiteers."
--August Bebel

"God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best."

Quotes about War....

"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war."
---Otto von Bismarck


"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
--Hermann Goering


"To conquer the enemy without resorting to war is the most desirable. The highest form of generalship is to conquer the enemy by strategy."
--Tzu Sun

"All men are brothers, like the seas throughout the world; So why do winds and waves clash so fiercely everywhere?"
--Emperor Hirohito