On This Day in Aviation History

April 8, 2012

April 8th in Aviation History: British Airways and Iberia Merge Business Operations, Engine Falls Off a BOAC 707

British Airways and Iberia tails.
British Airways and Iberia tails.
2011 – China Southern Airlines begins flights between Guangzhou and Auckland.

2010British Airways and Iberia formally combine their business operations to form International Airlines Group, with 55% of the company going to BA and the remaining 45% going to IB.

1970 – Israeli Air Force McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II fighter bombers accidentally bomb an Egypt elementary schoool in what would become known as the Bahr el-Baqar incident. The school is demolished, killing 46 students and injuring 50 others.

1968 – BOAC Flight 712, a Boeing 707-400 flying from London Heathrow Airport bound for Sydney via Kloten, Zürich and Singapore, suffers an engine failure shortly after takeoff from Heathrow, causing the engine to fall off and the wing to catch fire. Despite making a safe emergency landing at Heathrow, and the heroics of one flight attendant, Jane Harrison, 5 of the 127 people onboard die in the ensuing fire, including Harrison, and evacuation and 38 are injured. The engine failure would be blamed on a failed compressor in one of the plane’s Rolls-Royce engines.

1954 – South African Airways Flight 201, a de Havilland Comet 1 (G-ALYY) flying from Rome to Cairo, crashes into the Mediterranean Sea between Naples and Stromboli, Italy, killing all 21 people onboard. The second deadly, unexplained Comet crash in only three months (BOAC Flight 781 on January 10, 1954, being the earlier accident), British Transport Minister A. T. Lennox-Boyd revoked the model’s airworthiness certificate two days later, pending the results of the investigations into both crashes. Investigators would trace the cause of both crashes to design flaws that led to metal fatigue and explosive decompression.

1954 – A Royal Canadian Air Force Canadair Harvard collides with a Trans-Canada Airlines Canadair North Star over Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. 36 people on both planes are killed, as well as one person on the ground.

1950 – A Soviet Lavochkin La-11 fighter plane shoots down a US Navy Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer over the Baltic Sea near Lepija, Latvia, killing all 10 crew. The American bomber was on a patrol mission out of West Germany, when the Soviets claim it was intercepted over Latvia and fired at the Soviet interceptors.

1945 – Allied bombers mistakenly destroy a train filled with 4,000 Nazi concentration camp internees. Nazi troops massacre the survivors.