Varig Flight 820

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Varig Flight 820
Varig Boeing 707-379C Hoppe.jpg
A Varig Boeing 707-379C similar to the one involved in the accident
Date 11 July 1973
Summary In-flight fire, leading to loss of controls and belly landing
Site near Orly, France 48°45′N 2°24′E / 48.750°N 2.400°E / 48.750; 2.400Coordinates: 48°45′N 2°24′E / 48.750°N 2.400°E / 48.750; 2.400
Aircraft type Boeing 707-320C
Operator Varig
Registration PP-VJZ
Flight origin Galeão International Airport, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Stopover Orly Airport, Paris, France
Destination Heathrow Airport, London
Passengers 117
Crew 17
Fatalities 123
Injuries 11
Survivors 11

Varig Flight 820 was a flight of the Brazilian airline Varig that departed from Galeão International Airport in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 11, 1973, for Orly Airport, in Paris, France. The plane, a Boeing 707 registration PP-VJZ, made an emergency landing on onion fields about four kilometers from Orly Airport, due to smoke in the cabin from a fire in one of the toilets. The fire caused 123 deaths; there were only 11 survivors (ten crew members and one passenger).


Flight 820's problems began when a fire started in a rear lavatory. Crew members moved to the front of the airplane toward the emergency exit, as many passengers in the rear of the plane inhaled smoke. Prior to the forced landing, many of the passengers had already died of carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation. The aircraft landed in a field 5 km short of the runway, in a full-flap and gear down configuration.

Only one passenger survived, while the major part of the crew left the plane by the emergency exit at the top of the cockpit.

A possible cause of the fire was that the lavatory waste bin contents caught fire after a lit cigarette was thrown into it, the FAA issued AD 74-08-09 requiring "installation of placards prohibiting smoking in the lavatory and disposal of cigarettes in the lavatory waste receptacles; establishment of a procedure to announce to airplane occupants that smoking is prohibited in the lavatories; installation of ashtrays at certain locations; and repetitive inspections to ensure that lavatory waste receptacle doors operate correctly".[1]


Most of the passengers on the aircraft were Brazilian. The only survivors were in the cockpit and the first several rows of seats. Of the 11 survivors, 10 were members of the crew;[2] the sole surviving passenger, Ricardo Trajano disobeyed instructions to remain in his seat.

Notable passengers who died included:

See also


  1. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 707-345C PP-VJZ Paris-Orly Airport (ORY)". Retrieved 2017-10-09.
  2. ^ a b "Death in the Air: Fire and Fumes." Time. 23 July 1973. Retrieved on 8 December 2010.(subscription required)

Further reading

External links

External image
Photo search for Varig Boeing 707 PP-VJZ at
  • Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network
  • FAA Airworthiness Directive regarding placarding
  • (in French) Official report of the inquiry commission of the French secretariat of transportation (Archive)

Retrieved from ""
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia :
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "Varig Flight 820"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA