On 26 January 1972, JAT Flight 367 piloted by Captain Ludvik Razdrih departed Stockholm-Arlanda Airport, Sweden en-route to Copenhagen Airport, Denmark. The first leg of the flight was uneventful.
At 15:15 UTC, JAT Flight 367 took off from Copenhagen with a planned arrival time at Zagreb Airport, Yugoslavia. The en-route altitude was 33,000 ft (10,050 meters). Shortly after entering Czech airspace a homemade bomb placed in the forward cargo hold by émigré Croatian terrorists exploded.
The sole survivor, Vesna Vulović was near the rear of the aircraft at the time of the explosion but this is disputed. A food cart pinned her to the back of the plane during her fall, acting as a seat belt, thus preventing her from being sucked out the plane during decompression or the ensuing fall.
Some reports stated she was at the back when the explosion occurred, but she said she was told that she was found in the middle section of the plane.
Vesna Vulović was in a coma for 27 days. She was temporarily paralyzed from the waist down but survived. She holds the official record in the Guinness Book of Records for the highest fall survived without a parachute.
The officially stated cause of the Flight 367 crash was challenged occasionally over the years by conspiracy theories. For example, in 1997 the Czech periodical Letectví a kosmonautika reported that the plane was down by mistake by Czechoslovak air defenses.
The discussion about different aspects of the crash was reopened on 8 January 2009, when German news magazine Tagesschau featured a report by investigative journalists Peter Hornung and Pavel Theiner.
Allegedly based on newly obtained documents mainly from the Czech Civil Aviation Authority, they concluded that it was “extremely likely” that the plane had been mistakenly down only a few hundred meters above the ground by a MiG fighter of the Czechoslovak Air Force, having been mistaken for an enemy aircraft while attempting a forced landing.
All the evidence suggesting that the plane was destroyed at high altitude by explosives placed in a suitcase would be therefore forged by Czechoslovak secret police.
As evidence that the DC-9 had broken up at a lower altitude, the journalists cited eyewitnesses from Srbská Kamenice, who had seen the plane burning but still intact below the low-hanging clouds, and confirmation of a Serbian aviation expert (who had been present at the crash site) that the debris area had been much too small for a crash from high altitude; it also referred to sightings of a second plane.
According to Hornung, Flight 367 got into difficulties, “went into a steep descent and found itself over a sensitive military area”, close to a nuclear weapons facility. However, Hornung himself stated that for his theory “there are only indications, no evidence”.