El Al plane carrying 51 passengers and 7 crew was shot down by 2 fighter jets belonging to the Bulgarian air force,
Everyone on board was killed
LY-402, the Israeli carrier’s weekly flight from London to Tel Aviv, departed Heathrow Airport on the evening of Tuesday, July 26, 1955, en route to Lod (today Ben-Gurion International Airport), via Vienna and Istanbul. After a layover at the Austrian capital, the Lockheed Constellation – a four-engine propeller plane – took off for Istanbul shortly before 3 A.M. on July 27.
Soon after takeoff, the flight encountered a thunderstorm, something that was known to cause distortions in the old-fashioned NDR navigation system then in use. In the case of LY-402, which was flying along the “Amber 10” air lane, it appears that the pilot changed course after concluding incorrectly that he had passed over the Skopje (Macedonia) navigation beacon. This change of direction caused the aircraft to cross from Yugoslavia into Bulgaria, near the border village of Tran.
Detecting the violation of its airspace, the Bulgarian air force scrambled two MiG-15 jets from the Dobroslavtsi airfield to intercept the intruder, with the sequence of events that followed a subject of debate – at least initially. What’s clear is that, as the civilian plane neared the country’s southern border and was about to cross into Greek airspace, the MiGs fired at it. The Constellation exploded at an altitude of 2,000 feet, with its pieces falling to earth near Petrich, Bulgaria. Everyone on board was killed.