On October 4, 1992, shortly after take-off from the Schipol Airport, an El Al Boeing 747 crashed in a residential area in Amsterdam. 43 people were killed on the ground, as were three crewmembers and one other person on board.
The crash was caused by the number three engine coming loose and colliding with the number four engine, which made that engine come loose as well. During the attempted emergency landing, the crew lost control of the plane and demolished an apartment block.
El Al cargo flight 1862 came from New York and was heading for Tel Aviv after a crew-change and refuelling in Amsterdam. What it carried is still being discussed, nine years later.
Israel has admitted that the cargo included 190 litres of dimethyl methylphosphonate, a chemical that can be used both for making sarin nerve gas and in building materials as a flame retardant. The Israeli government insists that the chemicals were non-toxic but this claim is contradicted by El Al, which admits that the plane was carrying chemicals for the nerve gas sarin.
The Dutch media, citing the planeís freight documents, says that the chemical cargo was on its way from a US factory to the Institute for Biological Research in Ness Ziona near Tel Aviv.
After the crash, men in white suits were seen searching through the wreckage. The black box has never been found and there are rumours that the white men were members of the Israeli secret service that joined the rescue team in order to remove sensitive material.
A report published by Hollandís Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport indicates that approximately 300 residents in the crash area could be suffering from illnesses related to the accident. The effects range from depression and nervousness to fatigue and listlessness.
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