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Bijlmerramp

The Bijlmerramp (Dutch for 'Bijlmer disaster') was an airplane crash. On October 4, 1992, a Boeing 747 crashed into a block of flats in the Bijlmer[?] neighbourhood (part of Zuidoost) of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. A total of 43 people were killed, including 5 on board the plane, and others were injured.

The plane, a cargo jet belonging to the Israeli carrier El Al, departed at 18:10 from Schiphol airport. Above the Gooimeer, two of the plane's engines broke off the right wing: one of the bolts that normally keeps engine 3 on the wing failed. Engine 3 then tilted up and right due to gyroscopic forces, knocking engine 4 off the wing too.

The crew remained unaware of the extent of the damage, being unable to see the wing. After circling twice the plane returned to the airport and attempted to land. During the approach the flaps were extended, which apparently rendered the plane uncontrollable. At 18:35 the heavily loaded plane crashed into a block of flats called Groeneveen. The building caught fire and partially collapsed, destroying dozens of homes.

The number of casualties was relatively low (initial estimates were 200), as the plane did not carry passengers and most residents of the building were not at home at the time of the crash. Some people believe that the number of casualties was higher than 43, as many illegal residents were suspected to have lived in the building.

The plane's cargo included amongst other things bullets, Sidewinder missiles, Patriot missiles and approximately 50 gallons of dimethyl methylphosphonate, a chemical used in the synthesis of Sarin nerve gas.

After the disaster, there were rumours that the Israeli secret services had tried to recover some of the cargo. The plane also carried about 400 kg of depleted uranium as a counter-weight in the flight controls, a fact unknown during most of the recovery effort.

The crash led to many rumours and suggestions of wrong-doing. A parliamentary inquiry[?] provided more information, but rumours still persist.



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