1988: SD-based ship shoots down Iranian airliner - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

1988: SD-based ship shoots down Iranian airliner

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - As unbelievable as this may seem, several incidents like the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 have happened in the past, one of them was back in the 80's and it had to do with a San Diego-based ship. This time it was the United States that fired the deadly missile.

In the mid 80's the San Diego-based USS Vincennes was a ship like no other. Its radar systems could track 200 targets simultaneously and it packed a punch.

The technology may seem obsolete these days but what hasn't changed, is the heartbreak felt by San Diegans when it set out for the Persian Gulf:

"It's not fair, they shouldn't have sent them with no time with their family."

On July 3rd, 1988, it was in the Gulf patrolling the Strait of Hormuz. It was there where it mistook an Iranian passenger plane for a fighter jet, and shot it down, killing everyone on board.

According to the Pentagon the USS Vincennes acted prudently even though some of its information was wrong. It was first reported the Iranian airbus was sending signals identifying it as an F14 fighter, which was incorrect. It was first thought the plane was ascending towards the ship, instead it was climbing.

Captain Will Rogers III was the one who gave the command to fire the misses after the plane didn't respond to numerous warnings from the Vincennes. However, the crew of the ship misread the planes speed, height, and location. In the end, the United States stood by its captain.

Two hundred ninety passengers and crew lost their lives in the incident.

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