Air Rhodesia Flight 827

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Air Rhodesia Flight 827
An Air Rhodesia Vickers Viscount, similar to the aircraft involved in the incident
An Air Rhodesia Vickers Viscount, similar to the aircraft involved in the incident
Shootdown summary
Date 12 February 1979
Summary Civilian airliner shoot-down during wartime
Site Vuti African Purchase Area
16°25′S 29°26′E / 16.417°S 29.433°E / -16.417; 29.433Coordinates: 16°25′S 29°26′E / 16.417°S 29.433°E / -16.417; 29.433
Passengers 55
Crew 4
Fatalities 59 (all)
Survivors 0
Aircraft type Vickers Viscount
Operator Air Rhodesia
Registration VP-YND
Flight origin Salisbury
Last stopover Kariba
Destination Salisbury

Air Rhodesia Flight 827, the Umniati, was a scheduled flight between Kariba and Salisbury that was shot down on 12 February 1979 by Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) guerrillas using a Strela 2 missile soon after take-off. The circumstances were very similar to that of Air Rhodesia Flight 825 five months earlier. To date, it remains the deadliest aviation incident in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).

Incident description[edit]

The flight's departure from Kariba had been delayed, so it had not climbed over the lake to get above the ceiling of shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles before heading for Salisbury.[1] The aircraft was damaged by a Strela 2 missile and came down in rough terrain in the Vuti African Purchase Area east of Lake Kariba.[2] None of the 59 passengers or crew survived.[3]

Air Rhodesia Flight 827 is located in Zimbabwe
Air Rhodesia Flight 827
Air Rhodesia Flight RH827 crash site in Zimbabwe


Following the second incident, Air Rhodesia added shrouding to the exhaust pipes of their Viscount aircraft to reduce their infrared signature, and painted the aircraft with a low-radiation paint as countermeasures against heat-seeking missiles.[1]

On 25 February 1979, the Rhodesian Air Force, with covert assistance from the South African Air Force, launched Operation Vanity, a retaliatory bombing raid against a ZIPRA camp in Angola.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b P. J. H. Petter-Bowyer (2003). Winds of Destruction. Trafford Publishing. ISBN 1-4120-1204-X. [self-published source]
  2. ^ Geoffrey Nyarota (2006). Against the Grain: Memoirs of a Zimbabwean Newsman. Zebra Books. Retrieved 18 May 2008. 
  3. ^ "Description of Air Rhodesia Flight RH827". Retrieved 8 February 2008.