From the archives of the Hindustan Times: July 31
World’s worst air collision claims 162 lives in Japan (1971)
Tokyo- All 162 people aboard a Japanese Boeing 727 airliner were killed today (July 30) when the three-engined jet and a fighter plane collided over northern Japan at an altitude of 8,540 metres in the world’s worst air disaster.
The airliner went down in flames, and officials of the All Nippon Airways (ANA) said later there was no hope for any survivors, though rescue parties were continuing their search hampered by the mountainous terrain of northern Honshu, 483 km north-east of Tokyo.
By late evening, only a piece of the tail structure of the Boeing a chunk of the fuselage and some seats have been found and the 72 bodies recovered were so badly mangled that it was difficult to distinguish men from women.
If there were no survivors among the 155 passengers and seven crew members, the death toll would be the highest in airline history. The previous highest toll was 155 persons killed in the crash of an airliner in Venezuela in 1969.
The Japan self-defence force F-86 jet involved in the collision broke into pieces and crashed, but the pilot, a sergeant, parachuted and was uninjured, a defence force official said. He was the only man aboard the fighter craft.
An ANA spokesman said there was only one foreigner on the airliner, the American flight engineer.
The airliner was on a domestic flight from Sapporo, on the northern most island of Hokkaido, to Tokyo at the time of the accident.
Vijay takes Connors in stride for Volvo title (1973)
Bretton Woods- Indian national champion Vijay Amrithraj capped a string of upsets by rallying to beat Jimmy Connors (US) 7-5, 2-6, 7-5 yesterday (July 29) in the men’s singles final of the $25,000 Volvo international tennis tournament in this New Hampshire (US) city here. ‘
The seventh-seeded Amrithraj saved two match points while trailing 2-5 in the final set and went on to win five games in a row to whip Connors, the newly-crowned United States professional champion.
The 19-year-old Vijay, who had won only one other tournament - the Hong Kong Open - since entering the international circuit last year, upset top seeded Rod Laver (Australia), third-seeded John Alexander (Australia) and second-seeded Connors en route to winning the $5,000 (about Rs 35,000) first prize and a new Volvo sports car worth $6,000 (about Rs 42,000).
Rajiv hurt in rifle-butt attack by Lanka sailor (1987)
Colombo- Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi escaped an attempt on his life by a Sri Lankan soldier in front of the Presidential Palace where he was inspecting a Guard of Honour before leaving for India.
Mr Gandhi was hit with the butt of a rifle by the sailor who formed part of the naval contingent that had been lined up to present the Guard of Honour.
The Prime Minister was about to complete his inspection of the Guard of Honour when the soldier reversed his rifle and swung it across, aiming it at Mr Gandhi’s head. Luckily, Mr Rajiv Gandhi’s reflexes worked. He fell something coming on to him and ducked. Instead of the head, the Prime Minister’s shoulder took the blow and absorbed its impact.
Two members of the Prime Minister’s personal security - Mr G. S. Jamwal and Mr Mohinder Kumar pounced upon the assailant in the white naval uniform and pushed him away, helped in the process by some Sri Lankan security personnel. The name of the assailant, who belongs to the Sri Lankan Navy, is not yet known.
Undaunted, Mr Gandhi went ahead inspecting the Guard of Honour and joined President Julius Jayewardene, his Ministers and other dignitaries who were standing under a shamiana nearby to bid farewell.