Worst Plane Crashes- A lot of people have wondered what the worst plane crashes are.
The below list includes some of the most deadly disasters in aviation history, including accidents that killed everyone on board and those where a few survivors were able to escape.
It also includes crashes where terrorism was suspected but never proven, as well as any other notable events that occurred during these flights.
This blog post will explore some of the worst airplane disasters in history. Some are very well-known, while others are lesser-known but just as devastating to those who lost their lives or had loved ones die in them.
Regardless, each one is tragic and serves as an important reminder about how dangerous flying can be if you don’t follow all safety precautions.
Worst Plane Crashes of All Time
From the safety and security of your own home, you can explore some of the most catastrophic airplane crashes that have taken place over the years.
Digging through thousands of articles documenting hundreds of other terrible plane crashes will help you understand the reasons why they happened.
Let’s take a moment to look at the ten worst commercial airplane accidents in history, which can teach us a valuable lesson.
1. Air India Flight 855 (1978)
Air India’s first Boeing 747-237B, named “Emperor Ashoka”, flying as Air India Express Flight 855, carrying Hajj pilgrims from Mumbai to Jeddah via Hyderabad,
crashed into the Arabian Sea shortly after takeoff from the Mumbai airport at 20:14 IST on August 1, 1978.
The accident was caused by an improperly installed shackle on the aircraft’s No. 4 engine pylon that failed, resulting in the separation of the engine and the loss of control of the aircraft.
The crash killed all 213 passengers and crew on board. It remains the deadliest airplane accident to occur in India.
The aircraft was carrying 207 passengers and six crew members. Of these, 190 were pilgrims on their way to Mecca for the Hajj.
The passengers included 166 Indians, 16 Saudis, four Pakistanis, and three Britons. The crew consisted of five Indians and one British national.
The aircraft was climbing out after takeoff when it suddenly pitched nose-down and crashed into the Arabian Sea about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) off the coast of Worli.
The breakup of the aircraft was so severe that none of the bodies or luggage could be recovered. The only pieces of the aircraft found were the engines and some landing gear.
A subsequent investigation by the Indian government determined that the accident was caused by an improperly installed shackle on the No. 4 engine pylon that failed,
resulting in the separation of the engine and the loss of control of the aircraft.
The investigation also determined that the accident could have been prevented if the shackle had been properly installed and inspected.
As a result of the accident, Air India introduced stricter inspection procedures for its aircraft.
The crash of Air India Flight 855 remains the deadliest airplane accident to occur in India, surpassing the crash of Air India Flight 101 (the previous record holder) by three years.
2. Twa Flight 800 – July 17, 1996
In the history of aviation, there have been a number of devastating plane crashes. Of these, some are more infamous than others. One such crash is that of TWA Flight 800, which occurred on July 17, 1996.
The flight was en route from New York to Paris when it suddenly exploded in midair, killing all 230 passengers and crew on board.
The crash was later determined to be caused by a fuel tank explosion, although the exact cause remains unknown.
The disaster was one of the deadliest in aviation history, and it sparked a large-scale investigation into the safety of air travel.
The tragedy also had a significant impact on the aviation industry, leading to numerous safety reforms.
To date, the crash of TWA Flight 800 remains one of the worst plane disasters in history. It is a tragic reminder of the dangers of air travel and the importance of safety measures.
Travellers should always be aware of these risks and take all necessary precautions to ensure their safety.
3. Tenerife Airport Disaster (1977)
The Tenerife Airport Disaster was an accident involving two Boeing 747 passenger planes at Los Rodeos Airport on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Spain.
A total of 583 people died after a KLM aircraft crashed into a PanAm aircraft. The pilots and air traffic controllers failed to implement safety procedures that would have prevented the collision. The accident is the deadliest in aviation history.
The disaster can be traced back to a series of errors by both air traffic controllers and the pilots of the two planes. The KLM aircraft was cleared for take-off on runway 27, while the PanAm aircraft was waiting to take off on runway 28.
However, the KLM pilot misunderstood and thought he was cleared for takeoff on 28.
The tower at Los Rodeos cleared the PanAm aircraft to taxi into position and hold, but failed to make the pilots aware of the KLM plane still on 27 or that this runway had been closed due to construction.
The KLM captain stated over the radio as they turned onto final approach for 27 that he had the PanAm aircraft in sight. The KLM pilot was told to report when he was through a point away from the airport, but he read back only “OK.”
Air traffic control did not instruct the KLM crew to report nearing the runway or when they were clear of obstacles, and there was no visual sighting of the PanAm at any time by the KLM crew.
The PanAm crew never saw the KLM plane on takeoff roll or final approach.
The accident resulted because both aircraft were instructed to be at a location where a collision was inevitable and because there was no plan for how to handle such an event via radio instructions.
Air traffic control at Los Rodeos was not equipped with radar, and the planes were too far apart for ground controllers to see them. The KLM pilots believed they had landed safely, only to crash into the PanAm plane seconds later.
The impact caused a fuel tank on the PanAm plane to rupture, resulting in an explosive fire that quickly destroyed both planes. There was no opportunity for anyone aboard either plane to survive.
The accident was the result of a series of miscommunications that began when air traffic control failed to instruct the PanAm crew to remain outside the runway until after the KLM plane had taken off.
The controller assumed that because Tenerife was in sight, there would be no problem with takeoff visibility.
The KLM flight crew failed to monitor their altitude and distance, as required by company policy, believing the controller had cleared them for takeoff.
Instead of aborting at around 140 meters as required, they continued at a minimum height of about 50 meters until the collision.
After the impact, these aircraft remained on the runway as flaming debris from both planes spread onto the adjacent taxiway.
The airport firefighters’ response was delayed because they were not aware the airport was closed and they were not dispatched to the correct location. By the time they arrived, it was too late to save any of the victims.
The Tenerife Airport Disaster is the deadliest aviation accident in history. Of the 583 people killed in the accident, 323 were passengers and 250 were crew members.
All 15 crew members on the KLM Boeing 747 died in the crash; none of the 248 occupants of the Pan Am aircraft survived. This accident is also the deadliest plane crash in history involving a DC-10 airliner.
The Tenerife Airport Disaster was captured by two amateur photographers who happened to be at the airport that day. The photos provide an eerie view of the disaster as it unfolded.
One photo shows the KLM plane in the final stages of its takeoff roll, while the other photo captures the explosion and fireball that resulted from the collision.
These photos provide a sobering reminder of the devastation caused by a single mistake.
4. China Airlines Flight 140 (1994)
On July 26, 1994, China Airlines Flight 140 was a scheduled international passenger flight from Gunghangshan Airport in Xian to Chiang Kai-Shek International Airport in Taiwan.
The Boeing 737-200 airliner overran the runway after landing, dropping off a cliff and into the Jinsha River. Of the 158 people on board, 104 were killed.
Flight 140 departed Gunghangshan Airport (XIY) in Xian at 15:52 UTC (08:52 local time), with two pilots, two flight attendants, and 138 passengers on board.
The route of the voyage was along an airway known as the 06 Fibo that is approximately 6 miles long.
At 16:52, the crew contacted air traffic control in Taiwan and reported their position as being from the airport. This airway had been under construction with only a temporary service light to mark its midpoint.
Soon after, Flight 140 was cleared for an ILS approach to runway 16L at Chiang Kai Shek International Airport in Taipei. The crew acknowledged the receipt of this information.
The aircraft was on an ILS approach to runway 16L, descending along the localizer course, when it suddenly disappeared from radar at a location northwest of the airport.
Eyewitnesses reported that they heard “a loud thump” and then saw smoke rising from below some nearby hills.
The plane’s wreckage was discovered about halfway down a steep slope in the Jinsha River.
Of the 158 people on board, 104 were killed, including both pilots, two flight attendants, and all but one passenger. The sole survivor was a six-year-old girl.
The accident was attributed to pilot error. A lack of situational awareness and a failure to follow standard operating procedures led to the aircraft’s overrunning the runway and crashing into the river.
The China Airlines Flight 140 accident was the deadliest plane crash in Taiwan until 2002,
when a China Eastern Airlines Airbus A300 crashed into a residential area shortly after takeoff from Taipei Songshan Airport, killing all 225 people on board and another seven on the ground.
Prior to this accident, China Airlines was not known to have a poor safety record, but it has had several incidents since, including a crash in 2002 and a hijacking in 2000.
Taiwanese investigators determined that the probable cause of the accident was due to pilot error as well as a failure by the crew to follow standard operating procedures.
A lack of situational awareness and poor weather conditions (fog) contributed to the accident.
The investigation also found that the pilots did not properly monitor their airspeed and altitude, which led to an incorrect decision to continue the approach.
This was the deadliest plane crash in Taiwan until 2002, when a China Eastern Airlines Airbus A300 crashed into a residential area shortly after takeoff from Taipei Songshan Airport, killing all 225 people on board and another seven on the ground.
The crash was featured in Season 2 of the television show Mayday, also known as Air Crash Disaster (and called Air Emergency and Air Disasters in the United States).
The episode was titled “China Slump” and first aired on February 3, 2002.
5. Japan Airlines Flight 123 (1985)
The worst plane crash in history was Japan Airlines Flight 123, which crashed on August 12, 1985.
The plane had suffered an explosive decompression due to a faulty repair job on its tail section, and crashed into Mount Takamagahara in Japan, killing all 520 passengers and crew on board. It is the deadliest aviation accident in history.
The accident was caused by a series of mistakes by both the airline and the aircraft manufacturer.
Japan Airlines had been using the Boeing 747-SR46 aircraft for over 10 years, and in 1984 decided to perform a heavy maintenance check on the plane’s tail section.
The airline hired a subcontractor, who improperly repaired the aircraft’s rear pressure bulkhead, causing it to become structurally weak.
The cracks in the bulkhead caused a breach from the inside of the plane, which led to an explosive decompression when cruising at 33,000 feet.
Critical damage was also done by inexperienced JAL mechanics who were inspecting and repairing a flat tire on the aircraft’s landing gear.
They failed to remove the hubcaps from the wheels, which punctured a hydraulic line when the plane took off. The resulting pressure loss caused a further loss of hydraulic fluid and, thus, a complete loss of hydraulic power to the aircraft.
It is believed that JAL mechanics did not consult proper manuals or documentation when servicing the plane, and had no knowledge of how to properly repair the aircraft.
The aircraft manufacturer, Boeing, was also at fault for not issuing adequate warnings to the airline about the potential dangers of the faulty repair job.
The company had been aware of the problem for years, but failed to issue any safety notices or bulletins to airlines that were using the 747-SR46 model.
The Japan Airlines Flight 123 disaster is a sobering reminder of the importance of aircraft safety. It is a tragic event that highlights the need for proper maintenance and safety procedures, as well as adequate training for airline personnel.
The disaster serves as a reminder to always be vigilant when flying and to report any potential problems or concerns to airline staff.
In the event of an emergency, it is important to remain calm and comply with all instructions from the crew. The safety of passengers and crew should always be the top priority for airlines.
6. Turkish Airlines Flight 981 (1974)
Turkish Airlines Flight 981 was a scheduled flight from Paris to London that crashed near Senlis, France, on March 3, 1974.
The crash claimed the lives of all 346 passengers and crew on board. It is considered one of the worst aviation disasters in history.
The cause of the crash remains uncertain, but investigators believe that the cargo hatch door detached from the fuselage, causing explosive decompression.
Air rushed out of the cabin so fast that some passengers were instantly sucked out of the plane. Others remained in their seats, possibly paralyzed by hypoxia (oxygen deprivation).
No one was able to make a mayday call; there was only an incoherent radio message saying, “Pull up! Pull up!”
The plane was a new British Aircraft Corporation One-Eleven 500. The accident occurred just three minutes after takeoff. It skidded into a field, where it exploded and burned. All the passengers were French, except for eight Britons and five Turks.
During the subsequent investigation, it emerged that there had been problems with the door mechanism on the aircraft. One source claimed that a faulty design caused the door to open in flight, though other theories were put forward too.
Turkish Airlines continued to use Boeing planes until April 2008, when it retired its last four Boeing planes and then became an all-Airbus airline. The crash remains a key incident in the history of aviation safety.
7. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (2014)
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a scheduled international passenger flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, disappeared on March 8, 2014 while over the Gulf of Thailand.
Contact with the aircraft, a Boeing 777-200ER operated by Malaysia Airlines, was lost less than one hour into the flight.
The search for the missing aircraft began in the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea, which is where primary radar contact with the aircraft was lost.
An aerial search of a debris field of 34 possible pieces of suspected aircraft wreckage continued off the coast of Vietnam until late April 2014, while a four-month underwater investigation began on May 14, 2014.
There have been no transmissions from Flight 370 since its disappearance, and the aircraft’s whereabouts remain unknown.
As of May 14, 2014, the underwater search is being conducted by eight autonomous underwater vehicles.
A mid-ocean ridge between Australia and Timor was selected as the most likely crash site after a comprehensive analysis of available data,
including satellite communication metadata and possible flight paths, but it is believed that there are many mountains in the search area.
The underwater phase of the search began on October 7, 2014. On January 12, 2017, a flaperon was found washed ashore on Réunion Island in the western Indian Ocean, which was determined to have been part of Flight 370.
This is one of three major incidents generally attributed to pilot suicide, following air traffic controller suicide in the Japan Airlines Flight 123 crash in 1985 and the SilkAir Flight 185 crash in 1997.
The investigation into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is ongoing, but it is believed that the aircraft was deliberately flown off course.
In December 2017, a Malaysian government report found that the plane was steered off course by someone who knew how to disable communication systems and navigate the aircraft.
The report also found that the plane had likely crashed into the ocean.
The Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 incident was the deadliest aviation disaster in Malaysia, and the second-deadliest accident involving a Boeing 777, after Asiana Airlines Flight 214.
All 239 passengers and crew on board were killed. The incident is also the third-deadliest aviation accident on the African continent, after Air Algérie Flight 5017 in 2011 and Eritrean Airlines Flight 702 in 1996.
Flight 370 was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members. The 227 passengers were from twelve different nations: 152 from China, 50 from Malaysia,
four each from Indonesia and Australia, three each from the United States and France, two each from New Zealand and Ukraine, and one each from Canada, the Netherlands, and Russia. The crew members were all Malaysian.
The aircraft was a Boeing 777-200ER, registered 9M-MRO. It was the 404th Boeing 777 produced, first flown on May 14, 2002, and delivered new to Malaysia Airlines on May 31, 2002.
The aircraft was powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 892 engines and was configured to carry 282 passengers in total capacity.
It had accumulated about 53,471.6 hours and 7,526 cycles (takeoff-landing) in service and had not previously been involved in any major incidents.
On March 8, 2014, at 00:41 MYT (14:41 UTC), Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 lost contact with air traffic control during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The aircraft was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members.
The last known position of the aircraft was over the Gulf of Thailand, less than an hour after takeoff. The search and rescue operation, led by the Malaysian government, was the largest in Southeast Asia’s history.
The multi-national search effort involved dozens of military and civilian aircraft and ships. The initial phase of the search
The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is the deadliest aviation disaster in Malaysia. All 239 passengers and crew on board were killed.
8. American Airlines Flight 587 (2001)
On November 12, 2001, American Airlines Flight 587 crashed into a neighborhood in Queens, New York City. The plane was en route from John F.
Kennedy International Airport to Santo Domingo’s Las Américas International Airport when it went down just after takeoff. All 260 passengers and crew were killed in the crash. The accident was the worst ever to occur in New York City.
The cause of the crash was eventually determined to be a vertical stabilizer failure. The failure caused the plane’s tail to fall off, which in turn caused the plane to go into a nosedive.
Investigations into the accident revealed that the Airbus A300-600 had been subject to structural fatigue while in service, and that this problem had been made worse by the manner of its operation.
Investigators also believe that the flight crew did not follow proper protocol when they became aware of a problem with the plane.
Rather than following standard procedure and diverting from their route immediately, investigators believe that the pilots likely tried to solve the problem on their own before contacting air traffic control.
The crash of Flight 587 had a profound effect on the people of New York City, particularly those who lived in the area where the plane went down.
In an effort to recover from this tragedy, many community members began turning to various forms of religious expression.
Some turned to prayer and tried to find comfort in their faith, while others chose to lash out at the perceived failings of those involved in the accident.
The crash of Flight 587 was also a significant event in the history of aviation. It marked the first time that an Airbus A300-600 had crashed, and it underscored the importance of aircraft safety procedures.
The accident also served as a reminder of the dangers of flying and the importance of always following standard safety procedures.
In the years since the crash, the families of those who died have continued to struggle with their loss. Many have filed lawsuits against American Airlines and Airbus, seeking compensation for their losses.
To date, however, no resolution has been reached in these lawsuits.
9. American Airlines Flight 191 (1979)
On May 25, 1979, American Airlines Flight 191 crashed just after takeoff from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.
The plane was a McDonnell Douglas DC-10, and it was carrying 296 passengers and crew. It was the deadliest plane crash in U.S. history at the time.
The cause of the crash was determined to be a catastrophic engine failure. The engine failure caused the plane to break apart in midair, and it crashed into a nearby field. All on board were killed.
Since the American Airlines Flight 191 disaster, there have been several other major plane crashes, including the Tenerife Disaster (1977), the Lockerbie Bombing (1988), and the 9/11 attacks (2001).
However, the American Airlines Flight 191 crash remains one of the deadliest plane crashes in history.
10. Swissair Flight 111 (1998)
On September 2, 1998, Swissair Flight 111 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia. All 229 passengers and crew aboard were killed.
The crash was determined to be caused by a fire in the cockpit that resulted from a wiring problem. This was the deadliest plane crash in Canada until 2009, when Air France Flight 447 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean.
Swissair Flight 111 was a regularly scheduled flight from New York City, US to Geneva, Switzerland. It had been delayed on September 2 due to hurricane damage at John F.
Kennedy International Airport in New York City and then diverted to Halifax Stanfield International Airport in Nova Scotia due to fog.
It took off from Halifax at 2:18 AM local time (1:18 AM Eastern Daylight Time) and proceeded on its regular course.
At around 2:30 AM, while flying at 36,000 feet (11,000 meters), the pilot informed air traffic control that he intended to descend to a lower altitude due to an unspecified problem.
About 15 minutes later, the plane disappeared from radar screens. It was later determined that the plane had crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia. All 229 passengers and crew aboard were killed.
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