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A friend told me she was on a Royal Jordanian commercial flight in 2006 that had an emergency and was forced to land in a field in Greece.

She said the final destination was supposed to be Italy, with no scheduled stop in Greece. Nobody was hurt, and passengers were transported by bus to the Athens airport, which was not far. Perhaps the pilots had been attempting to reach Athens for an emergency landing.

Neither her nor I know much about aviation, but she described the plane as a small commercial jet holding 50-70 or so passengers.

I would like to know whether this kind of incident would create some kind of publicly-accessible record that I could look up. A commercial flight landing in a field seems significant enough to be recorded. But maybe as long as there were no injuries it isn't?

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  • $\begingroup$ In the US this would be a recordable (and searchable on the NTSB site) incident. I'm not sure about Jordan/Greece since they treat those types of investigations differently. At the very least there should be some news stories about it from that time. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Oct 22 '18 at 16:04
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    $\begingroup$ Language nitpick: "Ditching" specifically refers to a landing on water. If the aircraft landed in a field, it didn't ditch. $\endgroup$ – Henning Makholm Oct 22 '18 at 16:54
  • $\begingroup$ @HenningMakholm, it's more than language nitpick—if the story can't even decide whether the aircraft landed on water or solid ground, how good is the memory for the other things? $\endgroup$ – Jan Hudec Oct 22 '18 at 18:57
  • $\begingroup$ Technically speaking, every landing is documented, even the normal one. Every hour of flight or engine running is logged; the pilots have a logbook where they record the hours and route; the airline must have a record. It's all traceable, but not necessarily publicly available. $\endgroup$ – Zeus Oct 23 '18 at 0:38
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Generally there should be some kind of record of this incident but even more broadly speaking not all aviation accidents are necessarily documented or reported on a global scale.

It depends on what country you are in and who the reporting agency is. Here in the USA the NTSB is responsible for investigations of aircraft incidents. Investigations and reports are generally the responsibility of the country in which they happen but not all countries have investigation agencies nor the means to carry out complex investigations. Historically the manufacturers as well as other nations have offered assistance when need be as the outcome is as important to them as it is to the investigating agencies.

As for Greece their reporting agency can be found here and the list of 2006 reports here although they seem to publish the list by year that the report came out (not the year of the accident) so the 2007 list may also be of interest. Most of the reports are published in greek which I cant read and there does not seem to be one relating to Royal Jordanian.

Not that it is a complete list by any means but wiki does not list any similar Greek aviation incidents on their compiled list.

For the sake of completeness, what appears to be a grass field to some may actually be a grass runway (more common than you would think) and its possible what your friend described was a landing at a grass runway (field, or strip) done for a precautionary reason. A diversion like this may not cause an investigation to ensue.

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    $\begingroup$ By "a field", it's possible that they were referring to an airfield, not necessarily an actual grass field. $\endgroup$ – Lnafziger Oct 22 '18 at 19:35
  • $\begingroup$ Investigation often take several years, but I went through the list all the way to 2013 and didn't see anything Jordanian. $\endgroup$ – Jan Hudec Oct 22 '18 at 22:09
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As per ICAO guidelines, all accidents¹ and incidents² should be reported. Accidents should be investigated, whether incidents are is at the discretion of the agency collecting the reports.

Now whether, and how carefully, the investigation is done, depends on the country, but Greece is a functioning state and EU member, so chances of missing an accident there is pretty low.

Besides the web of the appropriate agency (already linked by Dave), there are two services that aggregate the reports, at least in the more serious categories:

They may not have everything, but the ASN should be fairly complete as far as accidents with any significant damage go, even including private and military flights. The AvHerald only concerns with commercial flights, but it also has a selection of incidents and the kind of “lesser” accidents like turbulence injuring some passengers or crew members.

In any case, something as severe as forced landing, be it ditching—which means landing on water—or off-field landing on ground, in a functioning state like Greece, would certainly make it to both, and a bunch of general news outlets too.

However, there are no commercial flight accidents for Greece in 2006 in ASN (the one listed accident is a fire-fighting aircraft), no accidents for Royal Jordanian Airlines in 2006 in ASN and search on AvHerald does not return anything either.

So it seems either your friend does not remember the place, airline or year well, or it was not such a big deal—perhaps the aircraft just diverted to some small airport due to a technical issue, which would be just an incident and wouldn't have to make these lists.


¹ An accident is any occurrence where somebody is killed or injured or there is substantial damage to the aircraft (excluding engines and landing gear) or other property.

² An incident is any occurrence where safety of operation might have been compromised (but didn't turn into an accident).

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