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IN PICS: The 10 WORST aviation disasters

Last updated on: May 15, 2012 09:19 IST

IN PICS: The 10 WORST aviation disasters

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From deadly terror strikes to inclement weather -- the reasons behind air crashes could be many, as massive disasters thousands of feet above the ground still continues to be a murky reality.

Rediff.com takes a look at some of the most disastrous air crashes that have shaken the world.

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Image: The World Trade Center south tower (left) burst into flames after being struck by hijacked United Airlines Flight 175 as the north tower burns following an earlier attack by a hijacked airliner in New York City on September 11, 2001
Photographs: Sean Adair/Reuters
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Tenerife airport disaster, Spain

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The Tenerife airport disaster occurred on March 27, 1977, when two Boeing 747 passenger aircraft collided on the runway of Los Rodeos Airport (now known as Tenerife North Airport) on the Spanish island of Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands.

With a total of 583 fatalities, the crash is considered one of the deadliest accident in aviation history.

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Image: A CGI rendering of the two 747s that were destroyed in the Tenerife Disaster, just seconds before the collision
Photographs: Wikipedia

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1985: Japan Airlines Flight 123, Japan

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Japan Airlines Flight 123 was a Japan Airlines domestic flight from Tokyo International Airport (Haneda) to Osaka International Airport (Itami).

On Monday, August 12, 1985, the Boeing 747-146SR that made this route, registered JA8119, suffered mechanical failures 12 minutes into the flight and 32 minutes later crashed into two ridges of Mount Takamagahara in Ueno, Gunma Prefecture, 100 kilometers from Tokyo.

 The crash site was on Osutaka Ridge, near Mount Osutaka. All 15 crew members and 505 out of 509 passengers died, resulting in a total of 520 deaths and four survivors.

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Image: http://im.rediff.com/news/2012/may/14aircrash3.jpg
Photographs: Wikipedia

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1996 : Charkhi Dadri mid-air collision, Haryana

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The 1996 Charkhi Dadri mid-air collision occurred on November 12, 1996 when Saudi Arabian Airlines Flight 763 (SVA 763), a Boeing 747-168B en route from New Delhi, India, to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, collided in mid-air with Kazakhstan Airlines Flight 1907 (KZA 1907), an Ilyushin Il-76 en route from Shymkent, Kazakhstan, to New Delhi, over the village of Charkhi Dadri, Haryana.

All 349 people on board both flights were killed.

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Image: A relative of a Saudi Arabian victim of the mid-air collision, walks through wreckage of the Saudi Arabian jumbo jet outside the village of Charkhi Dadri
Photographs: Kamal Kishore/Reuters

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1974: Turkish Airlines Flight 981, France

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Turkish Airlines Flight 981 was a McDonnell Douglas DC-10, registered TC-JAV and named the Ankara, that crashed in Fontaine-Chaalis, Oise, France, outside Senlis, on 3 March 1974.

Known as the "Ermenonville air disaster", from the forest where the aircraft crashed, the accident resulted in the deaths of all 346 on board.

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Image: CG render of TC-JAV moments after failure of the cargo hatch


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1985: Kanishka disaster, Atlantic Ocean

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Air India Flight 182 was operating on the Montreal-London-Delhi route. On 23 June 1985, the aeroplane operating on the route -- a Boeing 747-237B (c/n 21473/330, reg VT-EFO) named after Emperor Kanishka -- was blown up by a bomb at an altitude of 31,000 feet, and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean while in Irish airspace.

A total of 329 people were killed, including 280 Canadians, 27 British citizens and 22 Indians. The incident was the largest mass murder in modern Canadian history, and the deadliest aviation disaster over a body of water.

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Image: The wreckage of the Air India Flight 182 after the bombing that led to its crash in 1985


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1987: Korean Airline disaster

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The Korean Air Lines Flight 007, a civilian airliner, was shot down by Soviet interceptors on September 1, 1983, over the Sea of Japan, near Moneron Island just west of Sakhalin island.

All 269 passengers and crew aboard were killed, including Lawrence McDonald, a sitting member of the United States Congress. The aircraft was en route from New York City to Seoul via Anchorage when it strayed into prohibited Soviet airspace around the time of a planned missile test.

The Soviet Union initially denied knowledge of the incident but later admitted shooting the aircraft down, claiming that it was on a spy mission. The politburo said it was a deliberate provocation by the United States to test the Soviet Union's military preparedness, or even to provoke a war.

The United States accused the Soviet Union of obstructing search and rescue operations. The incident was one of the tensest moments of the Cold War, and resulted in an escalation of anti-Soviet sentiment, particularly in the US.

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Image: The Korean airline, which was shot down by Soviet interceptors, crashed near Moneron Island, and resulted in the death of 269 people


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1988: The Iranian Airlines disaster

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The Iran Air Flight 655, a civilian jet airliner, was shot down by US missiles on July 3, 1988, over the Strait of Hormuz, toward the end of the Iran Iraq War.

The aircraft, an Airbus A300B2-203 operated by Iran Air, was flying from Bandar Abbas, Iran, to Dubai, when it was destroyed by the US Navy's guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes, killing all 290 passengers and crew aboard, including 66 children, ranking it ninth among the deadliest disasters in aviation history.

Vincennes was traversing the Strait of Hormuz, inside Iranian erritorial waters, and at the time of the attack IR655 was within Iranian airspace.

The event generated a great deal of controversy and criticism of the US. Some analysts have blamed US military commanders and the captain of the Vincennes for reckless and aggressive behaviour in a tense and dangerous environment.

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Image: The crash site


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1988: The Lockerbie bombing, Scotland

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On December 21, 1988, Pan American World Airways' third daily scheduled transatlantic flight -- a Boeing 747 121 named 'Clipper Maid of the Sea' -- from London Heathrow Airport to New York's John F Kennedy International Airport was destroyed by a bomb, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew members.

Eleven people in Lockerbie, in southern Scotland, were also killed as large sections of the plane fell in the town and destroyed several houses, bringing total fatalities to 270.

As a result, the event has been named by the media as the 'Lockerbie bombing'.

On February 24, 2011, Libya's former justice minister Mustafa Abdul Jalil said that Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had personally ordered the Lockerbie bombing.

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Image: Scottish rescue workers and crash investigators search the area around the cockpit of Pan Am flight 103 in a farmer's field east of Lockerbie Scotland
Photographs: Greg Bos/Reuters

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2009: Air France crash

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Air France Flight 447 was a scheduled commercial flight from Rio de Janeiro-Galeao to Paris-Roissy involving an Airbus A330-200 aircraft that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on 1 June 2009, killing all 216 passengers and 12 aircrew.

The accident was the deadliest in the history of Air France and has also been described as the worst accident in French aviation history. It was the deadliest commercial airliner accident to occur since the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 in New York City in 2001 and the first fatal accident involving an Airbus A330 airliner in passenger service.


Image: Brazilian Navy sailors pick a piece of debris from Air France flight AF447 out of the Atlantic Ocean, some 1,200 km northeast of Recife, in this handout photo distributed by the Navy June 8, 2009
Photographs: Reuters

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