Indian Airlines Flight 440

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Indian Airlines Flight 440
Accident summary
Date 31 May 1973
Summary Controlled flight into terrain
Site New Delhi, India
Passengers 58
Crew 7
Fatalities 48
Survivors 17
Aircraft type Boeing 737-2A8
Aircraft name Saranga
Operator Indian Airlines
Registration VT-EAM
Flight origin Madras Airport, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Destination Palam International Airport, New Delhi, India

Indian Airlines Flight 440 was a flight on 31 May 1973 that crashed while on approach to Palam Airport killing 48 of the 65 passengers and crew on board.

The crash[edit]

Flight 440 was a scheduled domestic passenger flight from Madras (now Chennai), Tamil Nadu to New Delhi. A Boeing 737 named Saranga was used for the flight. As Flight 440 approached Palam International Airport in driving dust and a rainstorm, the aircraft struck high tension wires during a NDB approach with visibility below minima. The aircraft crashed and caught fire.[1] 48 of the 65 passengers and crew on board Flight 440 perished in the accident.[2] Rescue officials said the survivors were in the front of the aircraft.[3]

The survivors included three Americans and two Japanese. The dead included four Americans, three people from the United Kingdom, and one woman from Yemen.[3]

Among the dead was Indian Minister of Iron and Steel Mines, Mohan Kumaramangalam. Kumaramangalam was a confidant of Indira Gandhi, who was India's Prime Minister at the time. According to Mehtab-Ud-Din, a Punjabi journalist, Bhan Singh Bhaura was also on the flight, but survived. Mr. Singh Bhaura was then an MP from Bathinda (Punjab) for 5th Lok Sabha (1971–1977).[citation needed]


Investigators determined the cause of Indian Airlines Flight 440 crashing to be crew error in letting the aircraft descend below glidepath.[4]

See also[edit]

  • Japan Airlines Flight 471, another aviation disaster that took place at Palam International Airport less than a year prior to Indian Airlines Flight 440.


External links[edit]