Friday, July 18, 2014

Remembering Korean and Iranian commercial planes shot down



On July 17th 2014, a commercial aircraft from Malaysian Airlines, flight MH17, was shot down over Ukraine. The exact details of who was responsible are still be determined. But 298 passengers were killed, many of them Dutch nationals.

But this reminds me of an incident on September 1st 1983, when the Soviet government shot down a Korean airliner, flight 007. All 269 passengers and crew aboard the Korean airliner were killed, The aircraft was en route from Anchorage to Seoul when it flew through prohibited Soviet airspace around the time of a U.S. reconnaissance mission. In this edition of the Media Network programme as broadcast in September 1983, we hear how Radio Moscow, the voice of the Soviet government reacted. Remember this is before the Internet...it took several days before an official reaction was forthcoming.

And then 5 years later 3 July 1988, at the end of the Iran–Iraq War, an Airbus A300B2-203, was shot down as it flew over the Strait of Hormuz by SM-2MR surface-to-air missiles fired from the United States Navy guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes. The aircraft, which had been flying in Iranian airspace over Iran's territorial waters in the Persian Gulf on its usual flight path to Dubai, was destroyed. All 290 on board, including 66 children and 16 crew, perished. The only way of getting the Iranian side of the story was via shortwave from the Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran. But the transmitter was only switched on mid sentence when we listened in.

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