ASN Aircraft accident Douglas DC-9-15 I-TIGI Ustica, Italy [Tyrrhenian Sea]
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Status:Accident Investigation report not yet completed, but information verified through authorities or other sources.
Date:Friday 27 June 1980
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC91 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas DC-9-15
Operator:Aerolinee Itavia
Registration: I-TIGI
MSN: 45724/22
First flight: 1966
Total airframe hrs:29544
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney JT8D-7
Crew:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Passengers:Fatalities: 77 / Occupants: 77
Total:Fatalities: 81 / Occupants: 81
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:25 km (15.6 mls) NE off Ustica, Italy [Tyrrhenian Sea] (   Mediterranean Sea)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Bologna-Borgo Panigale Airport (BLQ/LIPE), Italy
Destination airport:Palermo-Punta Raisi Airport (PMO/LICJ), Italy
Flightnumber: 870
Itavia flight 870 departed Bologna (BLQ) at 20:08 on a domestic flight to Palermo (PMO). The DC-9 was en route over the Tyrrhenian Sea at an altitude of about 24000 feet when an explosion occurred. Extensive structural damage caused the plane to break up. Most of the wreckage sank to a depth of some 3500 metres.
The cause of the accident has never been officially established. In the years following the accident many theories were suggested. Some theories cantered around the fact that the DC-9 may have accidentally been shot down by NATO fighters. Either during an exercise involving Italian, U.S., and French jet fighters, or during a dog fight involving Libyan, U.S., French and Italian Air Force fighters in the area.
It has also been suggested that explosive device detonated in the rear (starboard) toilet.


Loss of control

» Flight International 03 January 1981 (4)
» ICAO Adrep 4/89 (#31)
» Accident to Itavia DC-9 near Ustica, 27 June 1980- Wreckage and Impact Information & Analysis (ISASI Paper, 1994)
» Analysis of radar data, suggesting side-lobe tracks instead of unidentified planes (in Italian, starting page 5)
» Lessons from the Ustica investigations / A. Frank Taylor, Cranfield University (illustrated version)


photo of DC-9-15-I-TIGI
accident date: 27-06-1980
type: McDonnell Douglas DC-9-15
registration: I-TIGI
photo of DC-9-15-I-TIGI
accident date: 27-06-1980
type: McDonnell Douglas DC-9-15
registration: I-TIGI

This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Bologna-Borgo Panigale Airport to Palermo-Punta Raisi Airport as the crow flies is 718 km (449 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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