El Al Crash Still Spawns Conspiracy Theories

After 20 Years, Dutch Dismiss Rumors on Amsterdam Tragedy

Dutch Disaster: Conspiracy theorist blame nuclear plots and Mossad hijinx for the El Al cargo plane crash in Amsterdam. Investigators deny them all.
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Dutch Disaster: Conspiracy theorist blame nuclear plots and Mossad hijinx for the El Al cargo plane crash in Amsterdam. Investigators deny them all.

By JTA

Published October 14, 2012.
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Chemical weapons, nuclear debris and Mossad agents in biohazard suits all have played prominent roles in the dozens of conspiracy theories surrounding the crash of an El Al airplane here 20 years ago this month.

But Rob Oudkerk, vice chairman of the Dutch parliament’s inquiry into the deadly crash, has studied and dismissed them all.

In a recent interview for a Dutch TV documentary, members of Oudkerk’s commission of inquiry reiterated their conclusions: The Israeli cargo plane malfunctioned despite proper maintenance and contained no known poison or weapons when it crashed into an Amsterdam housing project on Oct. 4, 1992, killing 47 people.

But two decades on, the conspiracy theories continue. Last week, on the anniversary of the crash, a short film titled “LY 1862,” which appeared on YouTube and two popular film sites, presented a smug and misogynistic El Al pilot who ignored the entreaties of his idealistic son and his son’s girlfriend not to ship “chemical weapons” to Israel because “they use them to kill people every day” and “there are powers trying to prevent the shipments.”

In reality, Capt. Yitzhak Fouchs and three other crew members died in what aviation experts later called a “freak accident” caused by defected fuse pins in the wings of their Boeing 747. The pins broke, causing one engine to shear off and knock off a second engine and parts of the wing. Flight LY 1862 crashed into a housing project shortly after takeoff from Schiphol Airport to Israel.

“There were so many ghost stories because the plane was Israeli,” Theo Meijer, the commission’s chairman, said in the television documentary program “Andere Tijden,” or “Different Times.” This caused “a growing unrest,” which was the reason for the commission’s creation in 1998, Meijer said.

“Because the plane was from Israel, residents thought chemical weapons had rained down on them and made them sick,” Els Borst, a former Dutch health minister, said on the program.


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