Deadliest Plane Crashes Ever

Posted by on Sep 24th, 2010 and filed under Travel, World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Following list outlines the worst and most tragic aviation disasters known to mankind with a short synopsis for each


1. Tenerife airport disaster (March 27, 1977) was probably one of the worst aviation disasters ever seen which was a culmination of a series of unfortunate reasons including terrorism , bad weather, mechanical failure, air traffic control miscommunication and pilot error. It involved collision of two Boeings (747) on the airport runway, one of which was a Pan Am jet and the other being a KLM flight. The worst accident in aviation history occurred when two Boeing 747 aircraft – Pan Am Flight 1736 and KLM Flight 4805 – collided on the runway of a Tenerife airport. Essentially, the KLM proceeded with a takeoff from the airport’s only runway without permission, colliding straight into the Pam Am aircraft that was taxiing along the same runway. Conditions were foggy, so it was hard to maintain a visual from either of the aircraft and there was also confusion over various radio instructions. This accident resulted in the deaths of 583 people, the highest death toll in any Air craft related mishap excluding the terrorist attacks on the US on September 11.

2. Japan Airlines Flight 123 (August 12, 1985) A Boeing747 domestic flight of Japan Airways flying from Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport to Osaka’s Itami International Airport crashed into the a ridge near Mount Osutaka ,100 kilometers from Tokyo killing 520 people but surprisingly leaving 4 survivors. The mid flight rupture of an aft bulkhead negligently repaired earlier following a tail strike incident the aircraft was involved in, caused destruction of part of the airplane’s tail .This destroyed the crucial hydraulic systems needed to maintain control over the aircraft as well as the rudder controls and the jet flew uncontrollably for over 30 minutes before crashing into a mountain forest. A JAL maintenance supervisor later committed suicide, while the president of the airline resigned, accepting full, formal responsibility for the crash and visiting victims’ families to offer a personal apology. The Japanese government was severely criticized for delaying the rescue operation for potential survivors of the air crash as it was later realized that a few people died awaiting the rescue team after surviving the impact of the crash.

3. The Charkhi Dadri mid air collision (November 12, 1996) Catastrophe strikes over the night sky of a village in Haryana (India) only 100 km away from the national capital New Delhi, as an Ilyushin IL-76 cargo plane from Kazakhstan (Flight 1907) collides in midair with a Saudi Arabian passenger Airlines killing all 349 people aboard both planes and making it the deadliest mid-air collision the world has ever seen. A pilot for the U.S Air force was the sole eyewitness to the event as he was making an initial approach in his airplane and he saw a cloud suddenly flashing into bright red. The investigation that followed the disaster revealed that the Kazakh pilot failed to follow ATC instructions due to communication problems and tragically none of the airplanes were equipped with a TCAS (traffic collision avoidance system).Following the mid air collision the TCAS was made mandatory on all flying aircrafts in the world.

4. Turkish Airlines Flight 981 (March 3, 1974) Known as the “Ermenonville air disaster”, from the forest (near Senlis, France) where the aircraft crashed, the accident resulted in the deaths of all 346 on board the DC-10 in operation for the Turkish Airlines .The cause for one of the most notorious and gruesome crashes ever was traced to a poorly designed cargo door that had burst from its latches leading to the depressurization of the aircraft and collapse of the cabin floor above the hatch. This further led to the impairment of cables to the rudders and elevators affording the pilots little to no control over their own aircraft. From the crash site only 40 bodies were visually identifiable. Nine passengers were never identified. In fact the wreckage had been so extensively broken up that immediate investigation suggested that a bomb had been placed on-board

5.    Air India Kanishka Flight 182 (June 23, 1985) The Air India Boeing 747 en route between Toronto and Bombay (now Mumbai) was blown up by a bomb exploding in the cargo section of the aircraft while it was in Irish airspace, at an altitude of 31,000 feet. The airplane fell into the Atlantic Ocean killing all of the 329 people it was carrying .Sikh separatists Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri were accused of planting the bomb by investigating bodies in Canada who also cited shortcomings in baggage screening procedures, screening equipment, and employee training as a reason for the security lapse which led to the gruesome terrorist act taking place. A second bomb, intended to blow up another Air India 747 on the same day, detonated prematurely in a luggage facility in Tokyo’s Narita Airport before being loaded aboard.

6. Saudia Flight 163 (August 19, 1980) Barely six minutes into its journey to Karachi a Lockheed L-1011 TriStar plane of the Saudia (now Saudi Arabian Airlines) returns to Riyadh following an in-flight fire that broke out right after departure. Though the crew is successful with the emergency landing of the aircraft, for reasons unknown, the pilot taxies the aircraft down the runaway for 2 minutes 40 seconds after the landing instead of stopping at the earliest and commencing an emergency evacuation of his aircraft .The wide body passenger jet airliner then sits with its engines running for more than three minutes and before the rescue team can reach the aircraft at the far end of the runway and start the rescue evacuation, the aircraft  is consumed by a flash-fire killing everybody aboard.

7. Iran Air Flight 655 (July 3, 1988) An Iranian Airbus A300 was shot down by the US Navy destroyer Vincennes over the Straits of Hormuz toward the end of the Iran – Iraq war. According to the US government the crew of the Vincennes mistakenly identified the Iranian Airbus as an attacking F 14 Tomcat fighter while the Iranian government maintained that the Vincennes knowingly shot down the civilian aircraft with two surface-to-air missiles. All passengers and crew aboard IR655 were killed, totally 290 deaths, 66 of which were children. The United States decided to pay a monetary settlement to the families of the Iranian victims. However, the United States has never admitted responsibility, nor apologized to Iran for the incident.

8. American Airlines Flight 191 (May 25, 1979) This DC-10 crash became infamous as the worst aircraft incident in the US (until September 11, 2001) with 273 fatalities and also lead to the temporary grounding of all DC-10s across America as investigation by the NTSB pointed towards faulty engine pylon design and airline maintenance procedures of the aircraft. Just after the flight’s takeoff from the Chicago’s O’Hare airport one of its wing is damaged severely due to an engine detachment which is followed by the aircraft pitching 90 degrees and crashing nose first very close to the airport within exactly 31 seconds from the aircrafts’ engine separation. As it hit the ground the aircraft explodes in a huge fireball, visible from miles around, disintegrating the craft and everyone on it and also killing two people on the ground.

9. Pan Am Flight 103 (December 21, 1988) A Boeing 747- 121 flying from London Heathrow airport to JFK airport in New York exploded in the night sky over Lockerbie (Scotland) killing all the 259 people in the aircraft as well as 11 people on the ground over which the doomed aircraft’s burning debris fell. Two Libyan agents, one of who was convicted (Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi) while the other went on to be acquitted (Lamin Khalifah Fhimah), were held in connection with charges over planting of the bomb in the flight. In 1992 a U.S. federal court also found Pan Am guilty of willful misconduct due to lax security screening.

10. Korean Air Lines flight KAL007 (September 1, 1983) A Boeing 747 passenger flight of the Korean Airways which deviated from its original intended air route from New York to Seoul was shot down by a Soviet fighter plane as it entered the soviet air space near Sakhalin Island (North Pacific) unaware. It was suspected to be a US military spy plane by the Russians keeping in mind the cold war era between the US and Soviet Union and the tense relations they shared during that time. All the passenger and crew of the flight, a total of 269 lives, were lost in the tragic incident and the investigation carried on by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) attributed the erroneous deviation of the plane to a considerable degree of lack of alertness and attentiveness on the part of the flight crew.

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1 Response for “Deadliest Plane Crashes Ever”

  1. My Gosh,

    These images are horriffic, the things that human kind must go through.

    Better planning, increased security measures and the best aviation measures should take place to snsure that this does not happen again.

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