Korean Air Flight 801

aviation accident

Korean Air Flight 801 (KE801, KAL801) was a scheduled international passenger flight operated by Korean Air. The flight crashed on August 6, 1997, on approach to Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport, in the United States territory of Guam, killing 229 of the 254 people aboard. The aircraft crashed on Nimitz Hill in Asan-Maina, Guam, while on approach to the airport. The National Transportation Safety Board cites poor communication between the flight crew as probable cause for the air crash, along with the captain's poor decision-making on the non-precision approach.

Wreckage of KAL 801 burns at the Sasa Valley crash site.


  • The wait for remains has been excruciating for the families of the victims, most of them South Korean. A scuffle broke out Thursday at a hotel used as a center for the families when mourners hungry for information saw a Korean Air representative hold a news conference for reporters instead of briefing the families.
  • Witnesses said the plane plowed through the jungle trailing smoke and flames, before it came to rest. The first rescuers had to make a maddeningly slow journey to the wreckage, trudging in with flashlights after hacking their way through razor-sharp grass that came up to their shoulders. They were followed by a bulldozer that slowly leveled a path over the rocky ground, the witnesses said.
  • Transcripts of cockpit voice recordings recovered from the wreckage show confusion in the cockpit, with crew members questioning one another repeatedly about the state of the instrument landing system and failing to follow procedures that would have kept them all aware of how close they were getting to the ground.
  • The cause of the crash was attributed to failure to adequately brief and execute a non-precision approach, and the Federal Aviation Administration's intentional inhibition of the minimum safe altitude warning system at Guam, the report showed.

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