Date & Time: Dec 4, 1977 at 2036 LT
Type of aircraft:
Scheduled Revenue Flight
Penang - Kuala Lumpur
Crew on board:
Pax on board:
The airplane departed Penang Airport at 1921LT on scheduled service MH653 to Kuala Lumpur. During the descent, while at an altitude of 4,000 feet, a hijacker entered the cockpit and forced the crew to divert to Singapore. The aircraft then climbed to FL210 and proceeded to Singapore when the hijacker shot both pilots and then himself. Few minutes later, the airplane entered a dive and crashed in a wooded area located in the region of Jalan Tanjung Kupang. The aircraft was totally destroyed and all 100 occupants were killed. The cockpit voice recordings indicate noises suggestive of the cockpit door being broken in, along with a reasonable amount of screaming and cursing. No noises are heard from within the cockpit to indicate any of the three occupants were conscious. The autopilot was then disconnected, possibly due to a pitch input by someone entering the cockpit and trying to control the aircraft. An investigator speculated that someone pulled back on the column, causing a pitch up, followed by an oscillation. This rapidly developed into a high amplitude phugoid oscillation that resulted in a rapid dive.
The aircraft was hijacked in-flight and both pilots were shot.