July 28, 1955

BULGARIA SHOOTS DOWN EL AL AIRCRAFT: Yesterday at 5.37 a.m. Greenwich time, the airwaves of Vienna, Paris, Istanbul, Thessaloniki and Athens picked up a desperate SOS message from an El Al aircraft of the State of Israel on a flight from Vienna to Tel Aviv. At that moment, the plane was over the Greek-Bulgarian border. According to initial reports, the aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft guns fired from Bulgarian territory, and was said to have been completely destroyed, resulting in the loss of over 50 passengers. (…) Even as late as this morning, there were conflicting reports regarding the downing of the aircraft and it could not be confirmed whether the passengers were safe, as Agence France-Presse reported, or whether there were actual casualties. Greek witnesses, however, claim that they saw the aircraft burst into flames and fall to the ground after breaking up in the air. [Ed. note: The Greek reports were later confirmed as correct.] (…) Israel’s diplomatic representative in Athens, Mr Abraham Darom, said that the Bulgarian representative in Athens had not yet communicated with the Israeli Embassy as had been requested.

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