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The Story

This article will serve as a skeleton which will be "fleshed out" as the elements of the Story below, one by one, bring us to the understanding of what really happened when KAL 007 was attacked.

Transcripts of Soviet ground-to-ground and ground-to-air communications tell a riveting story of attempted destruction, escape and a rescue attempt that most likely led to capture.  These transcripts come from two sources:  The Russian Federation, handed over to the United Nations by President Boris Yeltsin, and the US National Security Agency's electronic eavesdropping intercepts.  The following items provide transcripts of the actual conversations--at times heated and frantic, at other times chilling--as well as commentary by Bert Schlossberg from his book, Rescue 007: The Untold Story of KAL 007 and Its Survivors.

Questions are always arising as to how Korean Air Lines Flight 007 could have gone so disastrously astray.  Bert Schlossberg discusses this issue at length in his book Rescue 007: The Untold Story of KAL 007 and Its Survivors.  The following article is an excerpt from the book that gives the best explanation that we have as to how KAL 007 was lost.

Why was Korean Air Lines Flt. 007 carrying 269 occupants including 22 children under the age of 12 years and Congressman Larry McDonald not stopped that fateful day Sept. 1, 1983 when the Soviets shot it down? Why was it not warned it was about to enter into restricted Soviet territory, especially in the light of the U.S. government acknowledgment that there was a U.S. reconnaissance plane in the area, and in light of the fact that the crew of that plane knew the danger KAL 007 was increasingly confronting as it flew deeper to the shores of Soviet Kamchatka?

Now, we finally know. This article will bring it out for the first time.

If, at the very beginning, there had been a mayday call from KAL 007, all the strengths of the governments and the outcry of their citizenry would have been aroused to secure from the Soviet Union the return of the people of KAL 007 who now were shown to be alive and in a perilous situation and who might indeed have survived a water ditching - implied as the probable outcome and purpose of the mayday. But there was no mayday. Or was there?

One of the great unknowns has always been the question of U.S. responsibility in KAL 007's deviation from course causing it it to enter Soviet airspace over Kamchatka and the Sakhalin Island. This question was extremely pertinent in the light of the admitted fact that there was indeed a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft in the vicinity as KAL 007 made its intrusion into Soviet airspace over Kamchatka. This question has never had an answer for one reason only: The U.S. courts had decided that the obtaining of this information would have compromised U.S. national security interests. The capabilities of U.S. intelligence, and in particular the capabilities of the RC-135, could not be revealed in the height of the Cold War. And so, that track was abandoned by the Committee of the lawyers, and the U.S. itself as plaintiff was dropped in the ensuing litigation in both the liability cases and the cases for damages. But what if there were a way to learn what had happened that did not involve revealing the capabilities of the RC-135? What if what had happened were related by people who knew rather than by a revealing of classified technical capabilities? That is exactly what has come to the fore now.

Many people wonder what happened to KAL 007 immediately after missile detonation? Was the aircraft destroyed or incapacitated? Was it "flyable", even controllable, and what were the conditions of flight crew and passengers? FAQ #5 deals with this in great detail but from the data supplied by the "Black Box" Cockpit Voice Recorder and Digital Flight Data Recorder. For a wider and more comprehensive perspective, this topic is taken up in this article.

The world was amazed in January 2009 by the "Miracle on the Hudson," the safe water landing of US Airways Flight 1549, Airbus A320 with 100% survival rate, with many standing on the wings - just as happened, according to one report, in the case of KAL 007. But this was not a one time miracle and there has never been an attempted water landing of a passenger plane - with no survivors!

Within hours of downing KAL 007, the Soviets located the aircraft and retrieved the Black Boxes.  They then launched a massive deception designed to prevent the world from knowing that they had retrieved the Black Boxes.  They also acted belligerently towards the US naval forces. 

The following is a detailed account, taken from original sources, of the naval confrontation and the discoveries of the Soviet divers.  

An eyewitness account of a Russian ramming attempt and the bravery of South Korean sailors during the KAL 007 operations

People ask why have there been no stories of sightings of the passengers of KAL 007 and why have there been no contacts by the passengers with "the outer world" and with their loved ones back home. They ask, "If it were true that there were survivors, why have there been no reports as have occurred in the case of the POWs/MIAs from the various wars?" But there have, indeed, been such contacts and there have been such reports!

The following item presents the information that we have on the whereabouts of Congressman Larry McDonald and several other passengers after they were taken prisoner by the Soviets.  

And some of the camps are still there even now, all these years after the demise of the Soviet Union!

Many people wonder if the crew of KAL 007 had enough control over the wide-body aircraft to land it successfully considering that it had sustained significant damage to its hydraulic systems.  The following excerpt from Rescue 007: The Untold Story of KAL 007 and Its Survivors compares this air disaster with several others, relying on the Cockpit Voice Recorders (CVR) to show what might have been possible.  CVRs from other air disasters provide us with startling and dramatic peeks into their last moments.  It can be chilling reading.

One of the greatest and most poignant mysteries surrounding the downing of KAL 007 is summed up in the question, "Where are the bodies?"  This question haunted friends and family members from the very first day.  We believe, of course, that there were no bodies because the passengers were taken before the plane was destroyed.  There is no other answer.  The following excerpt from Rescue 007: The Untold Story of KAL 007 and Its Survivors compares this air disaster with others that followed it through the years, including the space shuttle Challenger and TWA Flight 800.  In all cases bodies, luggage and wreckage were recovered in great quantities.  With both the Challenger and TWA 800, all bodies were recovered.  To the list included in this excerpt, we may now add the recent tragic destruction of the space shuttle Columbia at the great altitude of over 200,000 feet.  From this accident, debris scattered over hundreds of square miles, including body parts and a video tape recorded minutes before the tragedy, have been recovered.  Why nothing from KAL 007?

As we have seen, the question of the missing bodies is a critical one--so critical that the Russians themselves recognized it. The following item sheds a little light on how they sought to explain the unexplainable.

In looking back over the past twenty years, the question arises, "Is this the final word?"  Are we ever going to get answers to our questions?  Will our loved ones ever be freed?  We see how the careers of many of those involved in the shoot down have progressed.  We have looked at the events and revelations of these past two decades.  We have urged the governments of our nations to reopen their inquiries.  We have sought to raise awareness of this ongoing tragedy.  Is this it?  We pray that it is NOT!  To quote from the last words of the Epilogue of Rescue 007: The Untold Story of KAL 007 and its Survivors, "How can we sit and do nothing!'  The following excerpt is that Epilogue.  It reviews these events.


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Last modified: March 10, 2009

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