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Last updated: 25 October 2021
Statuts:Enquête Officielle
Date:mardi 19 septembre 1989
Type/Sous-type:Silhouette image of generic DC10 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30
Compagnie:Union de Transports Aériens - UTA
Immatriculation: N54629
Numéro de série: 46852/125
Année de Fabrication: 1973
Heures de vol:60276
Moteurs: 3 General Electric CF6-50C2R
Equipage:victimes: 14 / à bord: 14
Passagers:victimes: 156 / à bord: 156
Total:victimes: 170 / à bord: 170
Dégats de l'appareil: Détruit
Conséquences: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Lieu de l'accident:Ténéré desert (   Niger)
Phase de vol: En vol (ENR)
Nature:Transport de Passagers Intern.
Aéroport de départ:N'Djamena Airport (NDJ/FTTJ), Tchad
Aéroport de destination:Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG/LFPG), France
Numéro de vol:UT772
The DC-10 was operating as UTA Flight 772 on a service from Brazzaville, Congo, to Paris via N'Djamena, Chad. The aircraft took off from N'Djamena at 13:13 and climbed to a cruising altitude of FL350.
At 13:59 an explosion occurred in a container at position 13R in the forward cargo hold. The explosion caused an overpressure in the cargo hold. Fragments of luggage, containers and pallets were blown away leading to holes on the left, right and underside of the fuselage. The cockpit then folded to the left side of the fuselage, and the aircraft broke up over the Ténéré desert.
The explosive device was most probably hidden in baggage, placed aboard at Brazzaville.
It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack. France obtained a confession from someone who claimed to have been involved. This lead to six Libyans being charged and tried in absentia. One of the persons being charges was the brother-in-law of Muammar Gaddafi, and deputy head of Libyan intelligence.
The motive would have been a retaliation for the French support of Chad in the Chadian-Libyan conflict (1978–1987).

Probable Cause:

- DC-10 flight UTA 772, Brazzaville N'Djamena - Paris, was destroyed by an explosion on 19 September 1989, forty-six minutes after take-off from N'Djamena, while cruising at flight level 350 in totally normal conditions.
- That destruction was due to an explosive charge placed in a container in location 13-R in the forward cargo hold.
- The Investigation Commission assert that the most plausible hypothesis is that the explosive charge was inside baggage loaded at Brazzaville Airport.
- Observations made shortly after the accident on Brazzaville Airport made it clear that, at that time, the airport security measures in force were not in accordance with the ICAO standards and recommended practices (Annex 17 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation and Civil Aviation Security
Manual (DOC 8973)).

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: BEA
Status: Investigation completed
Accident number: Report n-29890919
Download report: Final report

» Les Familles de l'Attentat du DC10 d'UTA - Association française des Victimes du Terrorisme
» ICAO Circular 262-AN/156 (195-202)

Opérations de secours
1. The investigation commission recommend that the resolution A-27-9 by ICAO general assembly (about acts of unlawful interference aimed at the destruction of civil aircraft in flight) be put in force actively and firmly by all states.
2. The investigation commission recommend that security requirements and objectives be taken into consideration and be stated as having high priority when designing or enlarging a terminal used for international flights.
3. The investigation commission recommend that, at any transit stop, the airline at arrival systematically count passengers who disembark and then, before departure, count all passengers on board (transit passengers together with newly embarked passengers) .
4. The investigation commission recommend that an emergency location beacon be mandatory on board public transport aircraft that overfly inhospitable areas regularly and recommend periodic search and rescue exercises between neighbouring FIR centers to check the communication equipment amid procedures that make it possible to activate the emergency phases.


photo of DC-10-30-N54629
accident date: 19-09-1989
type: McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30
registration: N54629
photo of DC-10-30-N54629
accident date: 19-09-1989
type: McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30
registration: N54629

Ce plan montre l'aéroport de départ ainsi que la supposée destination du vol. La ligne fixe reliant les deux aéroports n'est pas le plan de vol exact.
La distance entre N'Djamena Airport et Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport est de 4236 km (2648 miles).
Accident location: Exact; as reported in the official accident report.

Les informations ci-dessus ne représentent pas l'opinion de la 'Flight Safety Foundation' ou de 'Aviation Safety Network' sur les causes de l'accident. Ces informations prélimimaires sont basées sur les faits tel qu'ils sont connus à ce jour.
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