Saturday, June 20, 2020

Union de Transports Aériens (UTA) McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 (46852/93) N54629 - W/O September 19, 1989

(Michael Carter Slide Collection)

UTA Flight "UTA772" was operating a scheduled international passenger flight of French airline Union de Transports Aériens (UTA) from Brazzaville Airport (BZV/FCBB) in the People's Republic of the Congo, via N'Djamena (NDJ/FTTJ) in Chad, to Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG/LFPG) in Paris when it crashed in the Ténéré desert, near Bilma, Niger, following an in-flight explosion on September 19, 1989 with 170 people on board.

The DC-10-30 departed from N'Djamena International Airport at 13:13 when forty-six minutes later, while cruising at 35,100 ft, a suitcase bomb exploded in the cargo hold, causing the aircraft to break up over the Sahara Desert 280 miles east of Agadez in the southern Ténéré of Niger. The explosion scattered debris over hundreds of square miles of desert and resulting in the death of 156 passengers and 14 crew members.

The DC-10-30 took to the skies for the first time on March 13, 1973 followed by delivery to the carrier on May 1, 1973 from the Douglas factory in Long Beach, California. She had accumulated 14,777 flight cycles over 60,276 flight hours at the time of the crash.

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