A Fokker 100 passenger plane crashes shortly after it takes off from Skopje, Macedonia. - Gulf News Archives

Today in History

March 5

1798 French forces occupy Bern, Switzerland.

1918 Moscow becomes the capital of Russia. The previous capital was Saint Petersburg.

1943 The first British jet fighter, the Gloster Meteor, make its first flight

1946 British Prime Minister Winston Churchill delivers his famous ‘Iron Curtain’ speech at Westminster College in the US.

1953 Soviet dictator Josef Stalin dies at the age of 73.

1959 Iran and US sign economic and military treaty.

1960 President Sukarno suspends Indonesia’s Parliament.

1966 British airliner hits Japan’s Mount Fuji, killing all 124 aboard.

1976 Death of Mohammad Mossadegh, Prime Minister of Iran.

1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty goes into effect.

1982 Russian spacecraft Venera 14 lands on Venus.

1991 Iraq hands over what it says are the last 35 prisoners from the Gulf War.

1993 Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson is banned for life after testing positive for drugs for a second time.

1997 Representatives of North Korea and South Korea meet for the first time in 25 years.

1998 Dozens of soldiers from an elite Colombian counterinsurgency battalion are killed in a surprise attack.

1999 Willie Supple becomes the first rider in UAE racing history to break the 60-win barrier in a single season.

2000 UAE signs contract with Lockheed Martin for the purchase of 80 F-16 aircraft.

2001 A stampede breaks out during the annual Haj pilgrimage in Mina, Saudi Arabia, killing 35 people.

2005 A team of US and Ethiopian scientists discovers the fossilized remains of what they believe is humankind’s first walking ancestor nearly 4 million years ago.

2006 At least 100,000 protesters demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra march to the Thai leader’s office in Bangkok.

2008 Police shoot and kill a man armed with explosives who took 10 Australians hostage on a tourist bus in northern China.

2012 Pakistan successfully test-fires the nuclear-capable Hatf-2 missile.

2015 Iranian diplomat Noor Ahmad Nikbakht is released in Yemen after being held hostage for two years.

2016 Veteran Sudan opposition leader Hassan Al Turabi died of a heart attack at the age of 84.

2017 At least 11 soldiers are killed in Mali in an attack on an army base near border with Burkina Faso.



Macedonia crash kills 83 people

Up to 83 people are killed when a Fokker 100 passenger plane hurtled to the ground and exploded shortly after it took off from the Macedonian capital. Controllers at Skopje’s Petrovec airport said the twin turbofan jet, leased by the Macedonian company Palair, fell 400 metres to the ground one minute after taking off with 91 passengers and six crew for Zurich. Pavle Trajanov, deputy interior minister said the plane exploded after it hit the ground about 11km east of Skopje near the village of Aracinovo. He told a news conference that the plane had banked to the left during take-off. Both flight recorders had been recovered and the cause was being investigated. Fokker said the cockpit crew comprised a Dutch pilot, a Macedonian co-pilot and a Swiss flight engineer. The crash of a Fokker passenger jet could have been caused by overloading or ice forming on the wings during refuelling, the head of an inquiry commission said.