Loss of control Accident Boeing 707-379C PP-VJK, Saturday 3 January 1987
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Date:Saturday 3 January 1987
Type:Silhouette image of generic B703 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Boeing 707-379C
Registration: PP-VJK
MSN: 19822/726
Year of manufacture:1968
Engine model:Pratt & Whitney JT3D-3B
Fatalities:Fatalities: 50 / Occupants: 51
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Location:18 km NE of Abidjan-Felix Houphouet Boigny Airport (ABJ) -   Cote d'Ivoire
Phase: Approach
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Abidjan-Felix Houphouet Boigny Airport (ABJ/DIAP)
Destination airport:Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport, RJ (GIG/SBGL)
Varig flight RG797 was a scheduled service from Abidjan, Ivory Coast, to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The flight was carried out by a Boeing 707-379C, PP-VJK. This was to be the last flight in Varig service as the aircraft had been sold to the Brazilian Air Force.
On the flight to Abidjan there had been an indication of a fire in engine no.1. Air Afrique engineers at Abidjan concluded this was a false warning.
Some twenty minutes after takeoff on the return leg to Brazil, the engine no.1 fire warning again sounded. The captain decided to return Abidjan to have the engine checked out. The engineer then stated that the engine's fuel temperature was too high. It was decided to shut down the no.1 engine.
As the aircraft was descending towards Abidjan, the engineer stated that there was a fuel leak. As the flight progressed, it was cleared to land on runway 03, which was the shortest distance away for flight 797. Although it was a dark, moonless night, visibility was good. Nevertheless, the captain requested runway 21 for landing since this runway had ILS available for landing. This approach procedure called for a 270 degree left hand turn after passing the VOR. The crew choose to fly the turn with landing gear still retracted and without flaps and configure the aircraft for landing after completing the turn.
While in the turn the airspeed decreased to stall speed. The stall warning and bank angle alarms sounded. Without any visual cues outside, the captain lost spatial awareness. The aircraft had rolled 90 degrees to the left and entered a dive. It impacted thick trees of the equatorial forest and burst into flames.




  • 8th worst accident in 1987
  • 20th worst accident of this aircraft type
  • 17th worst accident of this aircraft type at the time



photo (c) Andres Dominguez; Buenos Aires/Ezeiza-Ministro Pistarini Airport, BA (EZE); November 1986

photo (c) Mel Lawrence

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