Swissair Flight 330
|Date||21 February 1970|
|Summary||Terrorist bombing causing loss of control|
|Aircraft type||Convair CV-990-30A-6 Coronado|
|Flight origin||Zürich-Kloten Airport (ZRH/LSZH), Switzerland|
|Stopover||Tel Aviv-Lod International Airport (TLV/LLBG), Israel|
|Destination||Kai Tak Airport (HKG/VHHH), Hong Kong|
Swissair Flight SR330 was a regularly scheduled flight from Zurich International Airport in Kloten, Switzerland to Hong Kong with a planned stopover in Tel Aviv, Israel. A bomb was put on the plane and detonated by the Palestinian terror group PFLP-GC. This caused the plane to crash, killing all 47 passengers and crew.
On 21 February 1970 HB-ICD a Convair CV-990 Coronado jet named “Baselland” was flying on the route with 38 passengers and nine crew members. A bomb detonated in the aft cargo compartment of the aircraft about nine minutes after take-off climb-out on southerly course approximately at 12:15 UTC in the area of Lucerne north of the St. Gotthard Pass. The crew tried to turn around and attempt an emergency landing at Zürich but had difficulty seeing the instruments due to smoke in the cockpit. The aircraft deviated more and more to the west and crashed a short time later in a wooded area at Würenlingen near Zürich, Switzerland, due to the loss of electrical power. All aboard the aircraft were killed.
A Government air inspector was flown to the scene in a helicopter. He was followed shortly afterward by a team of 50 investigators. The police said that a woman handed in a 9-mm. pistol found at the scene of the crash immediately after the disaster. Some of the wreckage, including pieces of cloth, was strung out on the tops and branches of trees.
Sabotage was immediately suspected here because of the anger caused in Arab countries by the sentencing the previous December of three Palestinians to 12 years imprisonment by a Swiss court. An Arab guerrilla splinter group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command, said in Beirut, Lebanon, that it had been responsible for the explosion. Reuters reported later, however, from Amman, Jordan, that a spokesman for the guerrilla group had denied that it was involved.
As noted in Kibble (The Arab Israeli Conflict: No Service, Returned & Captured Mail, 2014) - On 21 February 1970 Swissair Flight 330 left Zürich, Switzerland, bound for Tel Aviv, Israel. A bomb exploded in the rear cargo compartment nine minutes after take-off. The crew attempted to turn the plane around and undertake an emergency landing at Zürich, but it crashed a short time later in a wooded area at Würenlingen, near Zürich. A bomb with an altimeter trigger was placed in a package mailed to an Israeli address by Palestinian extremists. All 47 persons on board (38 passengers and 9 crew) were killed. A small amount of mail was recovered from the crash and is highly prized by collectors of crash mail.
A black instructional marking in French was applied to any mail that survived the crash, which translated reads:
Correspondence is from “Coronado” that fell at Würenlingen. Zürich 58 Post Office
The Coronado bombing saw a change in mailing practices across the globe. In particular, mail sent or routed to Israel through the UK, Italy and the USA was required to be sent by surface mail into the immediate future. Airmail into Israel was no longer permitted.
Jewish Telegraphic Agency report.
Airmail from Europe Fails to Arrive in Israel Despite Assurances It Would 25 February 1970
JERUSALEM (24 Feb) Partial press release refers to:
No airmail from Europe arrived in Israel today despite assurances from several airlines that deliveries would continue. At least a dozen international carriers suspended mail and cargo services to Israel following last Saturday’s fatal crash of a Swissair jet. The airlines said the measure was temporary and several announced yesterday that they were rescinding the ban. But planes of the West German Lufthansa, the British BEA and Swissair landed at Lydda Airport today minus their mail bags. The captain of the Swissair flight refused to take outgoing mail but agreed when informed by postal authorities that he was acting contrary to his company’s instructions. Israel made strong representations to the International Postal Union yesterday against any delays in foreign mail deliveries.
- "Terrorist Incidents against Jewish Communities and Israeli Citizens Abroad, 1968-2003". International Institute for Counter-Terrorism. 20 December 2003.
- Rubin, Barry; Rubin, Judith Colp (2015). Chronologies of Modern Terrorism. Routledge. p. 186. ISBN 9781317474654.
- "Aviation Photo #0108667: Convair 990A Coronado (30A-6) - Swissair". Airliners.net. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
- "The New York Times," February 22, 1970
- Kibble, D. 2014. The Arab Israeli Conflict: No Service, Returned & Captured Mail. Vivid Publishing, Perth. 384 pages + index, hardback, pages 299-306.
- flight 330 report
- (in German) Huber, Daniel. "«We are crashing - goodbye everybody»." 20 Minuten. 19 February 2010.
Media related to Swissair Flight 330 at Wikimedia Commons