Agadir Air Disaster

The worst Boeing 707 crash – Agadir Air disaster

The worst plane accident involving a Boeing 707 was the Agadir Air Disaster which happened on August 3, 1975. The aircraft left Paris and was bound for Agadir, Morocco, but on the approach to the destination airport, the plane crashed in the mountains near Amskroud, 25 miles (40 kilometers) from the airport. All 188 people on board lost their lives in this crash, making it the deadliest aviation accident involving a Boeing 707 and the deadliest aviation accident in Morocco.

The aircraft and the people on board

Agadir Air Disaster
The plane involved in the Agadir Air Disaster, By Michael Bernhard, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The aircraft was an 11-year-old Boeing 707-321C registered “JY-AEE”. It belonged to Jordanian World Airways but was chartered for this flight by Royal Air Maroc.

Of the 181 passengers on board, 177 were Moroccans working in France and returning home for their summer vacation. There were seven crew members, but not many details are known about them except that the pilots were Jordanians.

How the Agadir Air Disaster happened?

Agadir Air Disaster
Agadir Air Disaster

The Boeing 707 left Paris at 2:20 a.m. and was expected to land at Inezgane airport in Agadir at 4:30 a.m. Everything went smoothly until approaching the destination. The pilots did not follow the normal approach course to Inezgane Airport from north to south but chose to come from the northeast, over the Atlas Mountains.

Thus, as the plane was descending to land on runway 29 of Agadir airport, with limited visibility due to the fog, it struck a mountain peak at an altitude of 2,400 feet (700 m) with its right wing tip and with engine number 4. The wing was damaged and the pilots lost control of the aircraft. Just two minutes before reaching its destination, near the village of Imzizen, the plane crashed into a ravine after a very hard impact. Officials said they almost didn’t find any pieces of the plane larger than 10 square feet (1 square m).

The aftermath

Rescue teams were hardly notified due to the limited possibilities of local people. When they finally arrived at the crash site, they found pieces of the plane all over the area and confirmed that there were no survivors. All 188 people on board died, making it the 4th deadliest plane crash up to that time.

Following the investigation, it was found that the pilots were at fault for not ensuring positive course guidance before beginning descent.

Nowadays, with advanced technology and improved safety measures, flying passenger planes over mountains is much safer than it was in the past. Another example of the dangers associated with mountainous flying in the past was the missing plane that was found after 53 years. Then, in 1947, a plane with 11 passengers on board crashed in the mountains on the border between Argentina and Chile, but the wrecked plane was not found until the year 2000, 53 years after its disappearance.

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