Juan Ignacio Blanco  


  MALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  FEMALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z




Murderpedia has thousands of hours of work behind it. To keep creating new content, we kindly appreciate any donation you can give to help the Murderpedia project stay alive. We have many
plans and enthusiasm to keep expanding and making Murderpedia a better site, but we really
need your help for this. Thank you very much in advance.









Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Attempted suicide - Captain who attempt to destroy the aircraft
Number of victims: 24
Date of murders: February 9, 1982
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: 1946
Victims profile: Aircraft passengers
Method of murder: Threw two of the four engines into reverse, causing the plane to plunge into Tokyo Bay
Location: Tokyo Bay, Japan
Status: Found not guilty by reason of insanity

A mentally disturbed Captain Seiji Katagiri forces the Japan Airlines Flight 350 to crash. 24 passengers are killed by the crash. He is arrested on suspicion of professional negligence resulting in deaths, but he isn't indicted due to his insanity.


Japan Airlines Flight 350 was a McDonnell Douglas DC-8-61, aircraft registration JA-8061, on a domestic scheduled passenger flight from Fukuoka, Japan, to Tokyo. The airplane crashed 9 February 1982 on approach to Tokyo Haneda Airport in Tokyo Bay. Flight 350 was Japan Airlines' first crash of the 1980s.

The crew consisted of 35-year old Captain Seiji Katagiri (片桐 清二 Katagiri Seiji), 33-year old First Officer Yoshifumi Ishikawa, and 48-year old flight engineer Yoshimi Ozaki. The cause of the crash was traced to Katagiri's deliberate engaging of the number 2 and 3 engine's thrust-reversers in flight, in an attempted suicide. The First Officer and Flight Engineer worked to restrain him and regain control. Despite their best efforts, the DC-8's descent could not be completely checked, and it touched down in shallow water 300 meters (980 ft) short of the runway.

Among the 166 passengers and 8 crew, 24 passengers were killed, with no losses among the crew. Following the accident, Katagiri, one of the first people to take a rescue boat, reportedly claimed to rescuers that he was an office worker to avoid detection. The captain was later found to be suffering from a mental illness prior to the incident, which resulted in a decision that he was not guilty by reason of insanity.


Troubled pilot

March 1, 1982

A question of sanity

The revelations that appeared in the Japanese press last week painted a chilling portrait of a pilot with a troubled psyche. There were claims that Seiji Katagiri had been suffering from hallucinations and feelings of depression. He once summoned police to his two-story house near Tokyo because he was convinced it was bugged, but a thorough search turned up no eavesdropping devices. On three occasions, his employers had urged him to see a psychiatrist. Ever since he was granted one month's leave in November 1980 for a "psychosomatic disorder," Katagiri's wife has worried about his neurotic behavior.

Her reported fears proved tragically prophetic. On Feb. 9, as Flight 350 approached Tokyo's Haneda Airport, Katagiri apparently threw two of the four engines into reverse, causing the plane to plunge into Tokyo Bay some 300 yds. short of the runway. Of 174 passengers and crew aboard the Japan Air Lines DC-8 bound from Fukuoka, 24 people died. Police claimed last week that Katagiri told them he felt ill the morning of the flight. Said he: "After I switched from auto to manual operation just before landing, I felt nausea, then an inexplicable feeling of terror, and completely lost consciousness."

The Japanese catastrophe raised new concerns about airline standards that determine a pilot's fitness to fly. The Federal Aviation Administration requires that a U.S. commercial pilot pass a rigorous physical examination every six months, as well as an assessment of his or her emotional stability. The failure rate is low; an FAA study showed that for every 1,000 pilots tested, only eight are denied certification for medical reasons, and only two of those for psychoneurotic disorders. Those who flunk are automatically grounded until they can pass the examination. Most international airlines conform to the FAA requirement that their pilots pass regular proficiency tests for the specific planes they operate. Japan Air Lines last week apologized for allowing Katagiri to fly, admitting that he was reinstated as captain even though he had not fulfilled the JAL rule that pilots log at least 25 hr. of flying time a month.

Apart from accusations that he cracked up at the controls, Katagiri may face criminal indictment for abandoning his passengers and plane so quickly. "It's unbelievable that he was among the first to take the rescue boat," said JAL President Yasumoto Takagi. Pictures later showed the captain, with a bland expression and wearing a cardigan, aboard a bus after he had reportedly told officials he was an office worker. He could receive a five-year jail term if convicted under Article 75 of Japan's civil aviation law, which requires a pilot to do his best to minimize casualties and property damage in a plane crash.


Cockpit Fight Reported On Jet That Crashed in Tokyo

By Henru Scott Stokes - The New York Times

February 14, 1982

Tokyo - Investigators into the crash of a Japan Air Lines DC-8 in which 24 people died on Tuesday say there was a struggle in the cockpit only moments before the jetliner fell into Tokyo Bay 300 yards short of the main runway at Haneda Airport. It was also reported that the captain had been grounded for a year because of a psychosomatic illness.

The police, pointing to pilot error as the cause of the accident, said that one of the airliner's four jet engines was put into reverse thrust just before the crash, causing the plane to lose altitude sharply. The plane was carrying 174 people, incouding a crew of 8.

The police have made no formal statemen t on responsibility for the extraordinary action, nor did Japan Air Lines. But Japanese newspapers qu oted unidentified officials as saying that Capt. Seiji Katagiri, 35 years old, put the engine into reverse with a control lever.

Speaking of the struggle, the Kyodo News Agency said that the flight engineer, Yoshimi Ozaki, 48, ''stood up to seize the captain.''

The police said that the co-pilot, Yoshifumi Ishikawa, 33, tried to pull back on the controls to bring the plane out of a nose-dive but was unable to do so. They did not say why. Mental State Is Questioned

The Japanese press suggested that the pilot lost his senses. The Japan Times said a voice recording showed that ''Captain Katagiri was in an abnormal state, crying out loud in the cockpit'' on the approach as the plane was still some distance from the aiport.

Yasumoto Takagi, president of Japan Air Lines, said at a news conference today that Mr. Katagiri had had a ''psychosomatic illness'' in late 1980 but that airline doctors passed him as fit for duties later.

Geoffrey Tudor, a spokesman for the airline, said that Japan Air Lines had no further comment. He declined to answer questions on press speculation that the pilot might have deliberately crashed the jetliner.

The Sankei newspaper today published a photograph of Mr. Katagiri on a rubber life raft after the crash. He is seated, tieless and coatless but in a cardigan and not immediately identifiable as a Japan Air Lines crew member. A stewardess seated in the raft beside him has blood running down her face and appears to be in intense distress. Pilot Not Killed in Crash

The police said at first that the pilot died in the crash. It was later learned that he had been taken, without being identified, to a nearby hotel for treatment for an injured back and internal injuries.

''What exactly happened during the several hours before he was located is not known and may remain a mystery,'' said a source familiar with the investigation.

Accounts of the drama in the cockpit in the moments before the crash do not give a clear picture of what happened. Mr. Ishikawa, the co-pilot, and Mr. Ozaki, the flight engineer, were hospitalized with severe injuries. The nose of the jetliner was bent double in the crash.

Mr. Ishikawa was quoted by the press as having told investigators at his hospital bedside that he tried to correct an error by the pilot, but his account was confused.

The police said he told them that the nose of the plane dipped suddenly, as stated by survivors. Then, Mr. Ishikawa told the police, he tried to pull the controls back.

''The control lever was extremely heavy, although it could be easily pulled up usually,'' he was quoted as saying. ''Therefore I thought that the captain had done something wrong and I shouted to him,'' he said, adding, ''It occurred so suddenly that I don't remember clearly what I said.'' Press Theory Not Rebutted

''I was so absorbed in pulling up the control lever, I did not see what the captain had done,'' he told the police. The Japanese press interpretation that Mr. Katagiri went berserk at the controls has not been rebutted by the police or the airline. The state Japan Broadcasting Corporation devoted a one-hour news analysis program to the crash Friday evening that implied that the pilot was temporarily of unsound mind.

''Captain, what are you doing?'' was the despairing cry of the copilot on a voice recorder in the cockpit, the Japanese television program reported.

Mr. Katagiri is hospitalized here. The police have not reported his remarks, although a press report said he nodded when asked if he came in to land too low.

Japan Air Lines said he became ill in November 1980 and rested for three weeks after a hospital examination. Mr. Katagiri took a copilot's test in late December 1980, passed and resumed work at the end of the month.




home last updates contact