On 1st September 1983, Korean Air lines Boeing 747-230BHL 7442 Flight 007, from John F Kennedy International Airport in New York to Gimpo International Airport in South Korea via Anchorage in Alaska, was shot down by a Soviet Sukhoi SU-15 ‘Flagon’ interceptor. The Boeing 747 had strayed into Soviet airspace south of the Kamchatka Peninsula over the Sea of Japan above Moneron Island and to the west of Sakhalin Island.
This incident took place at the height of the Cold War when President Reagan had declared that the Soviet Union was the ‘Evil Empire’. Also at this time the USA was implementing its Strategic Defence Initiative with the deployment in Europe of Pershing II missiles, encircling the Soviet Union. As a result of this incident Ronald Reagan directed the US Military to make the US-controlled Global Positioning System (GPS) available for civilian use to prevent another navigational error such as that of KAL Flight 007.
At this time of heightened tension between the USA and USSR, the General Secretary of the Soviet Union was the hard-line, ex-KGB Director, Yuri Andropov who denied that any such incident had occurred. In hindsight, it is possible that the inept handling of the political events by the Soviet Union at this time was due to the failing health of Andropov who was permanently hospitalised by the end of September 1983.
It was only after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 that Boris Yeltsin, on a goodwill visit to Seoul in November 1992, handed over the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) of Flight 007. This confirmed that the Soviet Union had known of the crash site of KAL Flight 007 since 1st September 1983.
The Soviet Union reported that all 269 passengers and crew of Flight KAL 007 were killed when the Boeing 747 ditched into the sea near Sakhalin Island.
From 15th to 30th May 2011, Faraway Travel Ltd, whose company logo was a globe within an oyster shell and the slogan, ‘We make the World your oyster’, was offering the following package discovery tour:
Day 1 Fly to Moscow
Stay night in Courtyard Marriot
Day 2 Fly to Irkutsk
Stay 2 nights in Hotel Courtyard Irkutsk
Day 5 Boat on Lake Baikal to Severobajkalsk
2 days in Hotel Baikal at Severobajkalsk
Day 8 BAM railway to Vladivostok via:
Tynda, Komsomolsk, Sovelskaya and Khabarovsk - 3 Days
Day 12 Vladivostok
2 Nights at Vladivostok Hotel
Day 14 Fly to Moscow
Stay night at Courtyard Marriot
Day 15 Fly to London
Eight people had signed up for this package discovery tour:
Mr and Mrs Woodford from Manchester, UK
Mrs Myra Hurst from Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Mrs Agnetha Hensen from Stockholm, Sweden
Miss Lucy Brahms from London, UK
Miss Rachel Groves from London, UK
Mr Martin Baldwin from Chelmsford, UK
Mr Peter van den Platt from Brussels, Belgium