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Rinse, Lather, Repeat – 1968, JAL Splashes Down Off SFO; 1962, Aeroflot in St. Petersburg

January 17, 2009

In November 1968, a JAL DC-8 missed the runway by two miles and landed in San Francisco Bay, but all survived and there were no injuries.  Sound familiar?

JAL DC-8 off SFO

JAL DC-8 off SFO

Look familiar?

Look familiar?

There was fog and Captain Asoh was 200 feet lower than he thought.  He took full responsibility, but the best part was his quote to the NTSB:

“As you Americans say, I fucked up.”

The NTSF accident report is online.

The water was shallow and landing gear kept most of the plane above the Bay. United was able to revive the plane at their SFO repair facility and billed JAL $4 million (about $25 million in today’s dollars) who flew it for another 14 years.  It then operated for airlines in the Caribbean and Nigeria, and finally Airborne Express which flew it until 2001. More history here, including pictures of it being torn into scrap.

Sadly, it seems Captain Asoh committed suicide a few years later after being demoted to cargo runs.   (This doesn’t seem to be the case.)

Most people have seen the footage of the hijacked flight landing in the water off the Comoros, but here’s one that I had never heard of before – in the USSR in 1963, an Aeroflot TU-124 ran out of fuel and landed in the river in St. Petersburg — everyone survived, only some injuries.

1963 Aeroflot St. Petersburg

Back in the USSR, Dont Know How Lucky You Are

Of course, the Soviet authorities covered it up and confiscated all the cameras they could find, but I guess these folks got away with their film.  Click on the logs to see more photos. (From English Russia, a pretty interesting blog with lots of photos about Russia, new and old.)

p.s.  It feels very weird typing “USSR” and “Soviet”.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Joseph Hazen permalink
    May 27, 2011 5:39 am

    Capt. Asoh did not commit suicide. It is true he was
    demoted to First Officer and retired as such.

    • Frank Fahning permalink
      February 1, 2012 5:25 pm

      Mr.Hazen,Could you please contact me.I am the son of Richard Fahning your flight engineer on that eventful flight.

  2. June 8, 2011 10:41 pm

    I went to school in Menlo Park from 1968-1970 and remember seeing that plane right off Hwy 101 for a week/2.

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