39 Years ago today: On 19 August 1980 a Saudia TriStar returned to Riyadh with an inflight fire and burned out on the ground, killing all 301 occupants.

Date:Tuesday 19 August 1980
Time:19:08 UTC
Type: Lockheed L-1011 TriStar 200
Operator:Saudi Arabian Airlines
Registration:HZ-AHK
C/n / msn:1169
First flight:1979
Total airframe hrs:2948
Cycles:1718
Engines:Rolls-Royce RB211-524B2-02
Crew:Fatalities: 14 / Occupants: 14
Passengers:Fatalities: 287 / Occupants: 287
Total:Fatalities: 301 / Occupants: 301
Aircraft damage:Destroyed
Aircraft fate:Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Riyadh International Airport (RUH) (   Saudi Arabia)
Crash site elevation:625 m (2051 feet) amsl
Phase:En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Riyadh International Airport (RUH/OERY), Saudi Arabia
Destination airport:Jeddah International Airport, Saudi Arabia
Flightnumber:SV163

Narrative:
Flight SV163 landed at Riyadh at 16:06 GMT for a scheduled intermediate stop after a flight from Karachi. At 18:08 the aircraft took off for the final leg to Jeddah. Six minutes and 54 seconds after takeoff, while climbing to FL350, visual and aural warnings indicated smoke in the aft cargo compartment C-3. Climbing through FL220 (at 18:20), a return to Riyadh was initiated. About two minutes later smoke was noted in the aft of the cabin, and passengers were panicking. At 18:25:26 the no. 2 engine throttle was stuck. The fire had by then entered the cabin of the TriStar. Because passengers where fighting in the aisles, aft of doors L2 and R2, the captain asked everybody to remain seated (18:27:40). On final approach engine no. 2 was shut down, and the captain told the cabin crew not to evacuate. Flight SV163 landed back at Riyadh runway 01 at 18:36:24 The crew continued to a taxiway and told the tower that they were going to shut the engines down and evacuate. The engines were shut down at 18:42:18. Because no evacuation had been initiated by then, crash, fire and rescue personnel tried to open the doors. At about 19:05 they succeeded in opening door 2R. About three minutes later, the interior was seen to be engulfed in flames. None of the occupants survived the fire.

Probable Cause

PROBABLE CAUSE: “The initiation of a fire in the C-3 cargo compartment. The source of the ignition of the fire is undetermined.
Factors contributing to the fatal results of this accident were 1) the failure of the captain to prepare the cabin crew for immediate evacuation upon landing and his failure in not making a maximum stop landing on the runway, with immediate evacuation, 2) the failure of the captain to properly utilize his flight crew throughout the emergency 3) the failure of C/F/R headquarters management personnel to ensure that its personnel had adequate equipment and training to function as required during an emergency.”