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Korean Air Lines Flight 007 events

Flight 007
Route to catastrophe

Korean Air Lines Flight 007 theories

Spy flight
Cannon fodder theory
Technical errors

Korean Air Lines Flight 007

Route to catastrophe

Situation in Far East in 1983 was tense - China and Soviet Union were trying to keep the capitalist as far from their borders as possible, while North Korea, just like today, saw any country other than Soviet Union as the possible threat. That’s why the route of Flight 007 wasn’t a straight line - they had to flight over Japan, so they could avoid Soviet and North Korean airspace.

 - Route to catastrophe

After taking off from Anchorage, the flight was instructed by Air Traffic Control (ATC) to turn to a heading of 220 degrees. Approximately 90 seconds later, ATC directed the flight to "proceed direct Bethel (city in Alaska) when able". About 10 minutes later KAL 007 was flying on a heading of 245 degrees, which means that their route began to to deviate from route to Bethel. They continued to fly on this constant heading for the next five and a half hours entering Soviet airspace over the Kamchatka Peninsula about 15:51 UTC.

When KAL 007 was about 80 miles from the Kamchatka coast, one MiG-23 and three Su-15 Flagon fighters were scrambled to intercept the intruder, but due to problems with Soviet radar system they were unable to intercept target before it passed over Kamchatka and reached international airspace again. Despite that fact Russian commander gave the order to shot down the plane if it will be recognized as military target. After discussion the decision was made that there is no point to make the identification since the plane has already flown over Soviet territory and now is running away. While over Sakhalin Island one of the Su-15 have fired warning shots, but they could have not been seen by the crew of Flight 007.

At this time the pilot of Boeing contacted air control in Japan asking for permission to change speed and altitude to save on fuel. After being granted they did increase the altitude and decreased the speed, what was interpreted by Soviet pilots as evasive maneuvers. The order to shot down the target was given just before it was about to leave Soviet airspace for second time. Su-15 piloted by Major Genadi Osipovich fired two Kaliningrad K-8 air-to-air missiles that damaged Boeing over the sea. Soon the plane has hit the surface, there were no survivors, many bodies of the victims were never found.

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