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Cockpit Voice Recorders: Transcripts: Korean Air 007

The story of Korean airlines 007 (KAL 007) is by now part of the dark legend of the cold war.

Mistaken as a US spy airplane, the Korean Airlines Boeing 747, which was flying well of course into restricted Soviet airspace, was approached and shot down by an intercepting Mig pilot, who had sighted the KAL and fired a heat-seeking missile at its fuselage. Out of control, KAL plunged to the ocean below, where its black box was recovered weeks later.

We pick up the transcript seconds before the missile struck the airplane and follow the transcript for roughly seven minutes as the Boeing 747 plunged 35,000 feet into the sea.

Tokyo Air Traffic Control: Korean Air zero zero seven clearance, Tokyo ATC clears Korean Air zero zero seven [to] climb and maintain flight level three five zero [35,000 feet].

Captain: Ah, roger Korean Air zero zero seven, climb and maintain at three five zero, leaving three three zero at this time [33,000 feet].

Tokyo ATC: Tokyo roger.

Cockpit: [Sound of altitude alert].

Captain: Tokyo radio, Korean Air zero zero seven reaching level three five zero [35,000 feet].

Tokyo ATC: Korean Air zero zero Seven, Tokyo roger.

Cockpit: [Sound of explosion]

Captain: What’s happened?

Co- pilot: What?

Captain: Retard throttles.

Co- Pilot: Engines normal.

Captain: Landing gear.

Cockpit: [Sound of cabin altitude warning]

Captain: Landing gear.

Cockpit: [Sound of altitude deviation warning, sound of autopilot disconnect warning]

Captain: Altitude is going up. Altitude is going up. Speed brake is coming out.

Co- Pilot: What? What?

Captain: Check it Attention emergency descent [in Japanese]. [Sound of autopilot disconnect warning]

Co- pilot: Not working manually also. Engines are normal sir.

Public address Recording: Put out your cigarette. This is an emergency descent. Put out your cigarette. This is an emergency descent.

Captain: Is it power compression?

Flight Engineer: Is that right?

Public Address Recording: Put out your cigarette, this is an emergency descent.

Flight Engineer: All of both….

Captain: Is that right?

Public Address Recording: Put the mask over your nose and mouth and adjust the headband.

Co- pilot: Tokyo radio Korean Air zero zero seven.

Public Address Recording: Put the mask over your nose and mouth and adjust the headband.

Tokyo ATC: Korean Air zero zero seven, Tokyo.

Co-pilot: Roger, Korean Air zero zero seven…ah, we are experiencing…

Public Address Recording: Put the mask over your nose and mouth and adjust the headband.

Flight Engineer: All compression.

Captain: Rapid decompression. Descend to one zero thousand [10,000 feet]

Public Address recording: Attention emergency descent.

Flight engineer: Now…we have to set this.

Tokyo ATC: Korean Air zero zero seven, radio check on one zero zero four eight.

Public Address recording: Attention emergency descent.

Flight Engineer: Speed. Stand by. Stand by. Stand by. Stand by. Set.

Public address recording: Put out your cigarette. This is an emergency descent. Put out your cigarette. This is an emergency descent. Put out your cigarette this is an emergency descent. Put the mask over your nose and mouth and adjust the headband. Put the mask over your nose and mouth and adjust…….

END OF TAPE.

All souls aboard were lost.



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