118 Die in Plane Crash at Milan Airport

October 9, 2001

All 110 persons aboard a Scandinavian Airlines flight bound for Copenhagen died when the airplane collided with a private plane at Milan’s fog-shrouded Linate airport, veered off the runway into a baggage hangar, exploded and caught fire. Four people in the Cessna and four airport workers were also killed in Italy’s worst air disaster since 1972.

Officials investigating the crash ruled out any terrorist connection. They sited pilot error, probably due to heavy fog which blanketed the airport, and the fact that the airport’s ground radar system was inoperable at the time, as the probable causes of the crash.

SAS flight SK 686 had been cleared for takeoff, and was traveling at about 200 mph, when it struck the Cessna, which had apparently taken a wrong turn, and crossed into the path of the SAS plane.

Authorities admitted that, had the ground radar system been working, the crash might have been prevented. According to reports it’s been out of action for the last two years.

Apparently no Americans were aboard the flight, but investigators are still searching the wreckage. SAS immediately expressed its condolences to the families of the victims, and offered compensation payments. No estimate of the insured losses has yet been made.

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