27 March 1977 - KLM 4805 & PanAm 1736

At 12.30h a bomb explodes in the Las Palmas passenger terminal. Because of warnings of a possible second bomb, the airport was closed. A large number of flights were diverted to Tenerife, a.o. KLM Flight 4805 (a B747-206B, registration PH-BUF, from Amsterdam) and PanAm Flight 1736 (a B747-121, registration N736PA, coming from Los Angeles and New York). Las Palmas Airport opened to traffic again at 15.00h. Because the PanAm passengers remained on aboard it was possible to leave Tenerife at once.

The taxiways were congested by other aircraft however. This meant the PanAm crew had to backtrack on runway 12 for take-off on runway 30. The entrance to runway 12 however, was blocked by the KLM Boeing. The PanAm flight had to wait for almost 2 hours before all KLM passengers (except 1) had reboarded and refueling had taken place. The KLM flight was then cleared to backtrack runway 12 and make a 180deg. turn at the end. Three minutes later (at 17.02h) Pan Am 1736 was cleared to follow the KLM aircraft and backtrack runway 12. The PanAm crew were told to leave the runway at the third taxiway and report leaving the runway.

At 17.05:44h KLM 4805 reported ready for take-off and was given instructions for a Papa beacon departure. The KLM crew repeated the instructions and added "We are now at take-off". The brakes were released and KLM 4805 started the take-off roll. Tenerife tower, knowing that Pan Am 1736 was still taxiing down the runway replied "OK ...... Stand by for take-off, I will call you." This message coincided with the PanAm crew's transmission "No ... uh we're still taxiing down the runway, the Clipper 1736".

These communications caused a shrill noise in the KLM cockpit, lasting approx. 3.74 seconds. Tenerife tower replied: "Papa Alpha 1736 report runway clear.", whereupon the PanAm crew replied: "OK, will report when we're clear". This caused some concerns with the KLM flight engineer asking the captain: "Is he not clear then?" After repeating his question the captain answers emphatically: "Oh, yes". A number of seconds before impact the KLM crew saw the PanAm Boeing still taxiing down the runway. The crew tried to climb away and became airborne after a 65ft tail drag in an excessive rotation. The PanAm crew immediately turned the aircraft to the right and applied full power. The KLM aircraft was airborne, but the fuselage skidded over the PanAm's aft fuselage, destroying it and shearing off the tail. The KLM aircraft flew on and crashed out of control 150m further on, sliding another 300m bursting into flames.

Transcript of the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR)

APP = Tenerife tower
RDO-2 = Pan Am Radio communications (co-pilot)
CAM-1 = Cockpit Area Mike PanAm (captain)
CAM-2 = Cockpit Area Mike PanAm (co-pilot)
CAM-3 = Cockpit Area Mike PanAm (flight engineer)
KLM = KLM Radio Communications
KLM-1 = KLM Cockpit Area Mike (captain)
KLM-2 = KLM Cockpit Area Mike (co-pilot)
KLM-3 = KLM Cockpit Area Mike (flight engineer)

Time: Source: Content:
1701:57.0 RDO-2 Tenerife the Clipper one seven three six. (1702:00.2)
1702:01.8 APP Clipper one seven three six Tenerife.
1702:03.6 RDO-2 Ah- We were instructed to contact you and also to taxi down the runway, is that correct? (1702:07.4)
1702:08.4 APP Affirmative, taxi into the runway and -ah leave the runway third, third to your left, (background conversation in the tower).
1702:16.4 RDO-2 Third to the left, O.K. (17:02.18.3)
1702:18.4 CAM-3 Third he said.
  CAM-? Three.
1702:20.6 APP -ird one to your left.
1702:21.9 CAM-1 I think he said first.
1702:26.4 CAM-2 I'll ask him again.
  CAM-? * * *
1702:32.2 CAM-2 Left turn.
1702:33.1 CAM-1 I don't think they have take-off minimums anywhere right now.
1702:39.2 CAM-1 What really happened over there today?
1702:41.6 CAM-4 They put a bomb (in) the terminal, Sir, right where the check-in counters are.
1702:46.6 CAM-1 Well we asked them if we could hold and -uh- I guess you got the word, we landed here **
  CAM-? * * *
1702:49.8 APP KLMfour eight zero five how many taxiway -ah- did you pass?
1702:55.6 KLM I think we just passed charlie four now.
1702:59.9 APP O.K. ... at the end of the runway make one eighty and report -ah- ready -ah- for ATC clearance (background conversation in the tower).
1703:09.3 CAM-2 The first one is a ninety degree turn.
1703:11.0 CAM-1 Yeah, O.K.
1703:12.1 CAM-2 Must be the third ... I'll ask him again.
1703:14.2 CAM-1 O.K.
1703:16.6 CAM-1 We could probably go in it's ah ...
1703:19.1 CAM-1 You gotta make a ninety degree turn.
1703:21.6 CAM-1 Yeah, uh.
1703:21.6 CAM-2 Ninety degree turn to get around this ... this one down here it's a forty five.
1703:29.3 RDO-2 Would you confirm that you want the clipper one seven three six to turn left at the third intersection? (1703:35.4).
1703:35.1 CAM-1 One, two.
1703:36.4 APP The third one, sir, one; two, three, third, third one (1703:38.3)..
1703:38.3 CAM-? One two (four).
1703:39.0 CAM-1 Good.
1703:40.1 CAM-1 That's what we need right, the third one.
1703:42.9 CAM-3 Uno, dos, tres.
1703:44.0 CAM-1 Uno, dos, tres.
1703:44.9 CAM-3 Tres - uh - si.
1703:46.5 CAM-1 Right.
1703:47.6 CAM-3 We'll make it yet.
1703:47.6 APP ...er seven one three six report leaving the runway.
1703:49.1 CAM-2 Wing flaps?
1703:50.2 CAM-1 Ten, indicate ten, leading edge lights are green.
1703:54.1 CAM-? Get that.
1703:55.0 RDO-2 Clipper one seven three six (1703:56.4)
1703:56.5 CAM-2 Yaw damp and instrument?
1703:58.6 CAM-1 Ah- Bob we'll get a left one *
1703:59.3 CAM-2 I got a left.
1704:00.6 CAM-1 Did you?
1704.00.9 CAM-2 And -ah- need a right.
1704:02.6 CAM-1 I'll give you a little *
1704:03.8 CAM-2 Put a little aileron in this thing.
1704:05.0 CAM-1 O.K., here's a left and I'll give you a right one right here.
1704:09.7 CAM-1 O.K. right turn right and left yaw.
1704:11.4 CAM-2 Left yaw checks.
1704:12.4 CAM-1 O.K., here's the rudders.
1704:13.6 CAM-1 Here's two left, centre, two right centre.
1704:17.8 CAM-2 Checks.
1704:19.2 CAM-2 Controls.
1704:19.6 CAM-1 Haven't seen any yet!
1704:20.3 CAM-2 I haven't either.
1704:21. 7 CAM-1 They're free, the indicators are checked.
1704:24.6 CAM-2 There's one.
1704:25.8 CAM-1 There's one.
1704:26.4 CAM-1 That's the ninety degree.
1704:28.5 CAM-? O.K.
1704:34.5 CAM-? ***
  CAM-2 Weight and balance finals?
1704:37.7 CAM (Sounds similar to stabilizer trim).(1704:44.8)
1704:37.2 CAM-1 We were gonna put that on four and a half
1704:39.8 CAM-3 We got four and a half and we weigh five thirty four (sound of stabilizer trim).
1704:44.6 CAM-2 Four and a half on the right.
1704:46.8 CAM-2 Engineer's taxi check.
1704:48.4 CAM-3 Taxi check is complete.
1704:50.5 CAM-2 Take-off and departure briefing?
1704:52.1 CAM-1 O.K., it'll be standard, we gonna go straight out there till we get thirty five hundred feet then we're gonna make that reversal and go back' out to * fourteen.
1704:58.2 APP -m eight seven zero five and clipper one seven ... three six, for your information, the centre line lighting is out of service. (APP transmission is readable but slightly broken.)
1705:05.8 KLM I copied that.
1705:07.7 RDO-2 Clipper one seven three six.
1705:09.6 CAM-1 We got centre line markings (* only) (could be "don't we) they count the same thing as ... we need eight hundred metres if you don't have that centre line... I read that on the back (of this) just a while ago.
1705:22.0 CAM-1 That's two.
1705:23.5 CAM-3 Yeh, that's forty-five there.
1705:25.7 CAM-1 Yeh.
1705:26.5 CAM-2 That's this one right here.
1705:27.2 CAM-1 (Yeh)I know.
1705:28.1 CAM-3 O.K.
1705:28.5 CAM-3 Next one is almost a forty-five, huh yeh.
1705:30.6 CAM-1 But it goes...
1705:32.4 CAM-1 Yeh, but it goes ... ahead, I think (it's) gonna put us on (the) taxiway.
1705:35.9 CAM-3 Yeah, just a little bit yeh.
1705:39.8 CAM-? O.K., for sure.
1705:40.0 CAM-2 Maybe he, maybe he counts these (are) three.
  CAM-? Huh.
1705:44.8 CAM-? I like this.
1705:44.8 KLM Uh, the KLM ... four eight zero five is now ready for take-off ... uh and we're waiting for our ATC clearance.
1705:53.4 APP KLM eight seven * zero five uh you are cleared to the Papa Beacon climb to and maintain flight level nine zero right turn after take-off proceed with heading zero four zero until intercepting the three two five radial from Las Palmas VOR. (1706:08.2)
1706:09.6 KLM Ah roger, sir, we're cleared to the Papa Beacon flight level nine zero, right turn out zero four zero until intercepting the three two five and we're now (at take-off). (1706:17.9)
ca. 1706:13 KLM-1 We gaan. (We're going)
1706:18.19 APP OK.
1706:19.3 RDO No .. eh.
1706:20.08 APP Stand by for take-off, I will call you.
1706:20.3 RDO And we're still taxiing down the runway, the clipper one seven three six.
1706:19.39 - 1706:23.19   RDO and APP communications caused a shrill noise in KLM cockpit - messages not heard by KLM crew.
1706:25.6 APP Roger alpha one seven three six report when runway clear
1706:29.6 RDO OK, we'll report when we're clear.
  APP Thank you
1706:32.43 KLM-3 Is hij er niet af dan? {Is he not clear then?}
1706:34.1 KLM-1 Wat zeg je? {What do you say?}
1706:34.15 KLM-? Yup.
1706:34.7 KLM-3 Is hij er niet af, die Pan American? {Is he not clear that Pan American?}
1706:35.7 KLM-1 Jawel. {Oh yes. - emphatic}
1706:40   PanAm captain sees landinglights of KLM Boeing at approx. 700m
1706:44   PH-BUF started rotation
1706:47.44 KLM-1 [Scream]
1706:50   collision

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