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Rediff.com  » News » IN PICS: The 30 DEADLIEST air disasters in history

IN PICS: The 30 DEADLIEST air disasters in history

March 11, 2014 08:49 IST

IN PICS: The 30 DEADLIEST air disasters in history

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Thousands of lives have been lost around the world in recent years owing to aircraft disasters.

While some of the mishaps have been blamed on inclement weather others have resulted out of mechanical failures or pilot failures or terror attacks.

More recently, a Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines flight with 239 people, including 5 Indians, on board was presumed to have crashed and the worst is feared. Intelligence agencies are also probing how four persons with fake identities boarded the aircraft and counter-terrorism agencies of other countries have been alerted about it.

The fate of the aircraft is still unknown.

Rediff.com takes a look at some of the disastrous air crashes.

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March 27, 1977

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Operator                    KLM Airlines

Fatalities                     248

Crash location           Tenerife, Spain           

Cause of crash           Misunderstanding between the tower and the aircraft led to it crashing into another aircraft.

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Image: 562 people died in the world's worst-ever air disaster when a KLM 747 jumbo jet collided with a Pan-Am 747 jumbo on the runway of Santa Cruz Airport, Tenerife.
Photographs: Central Press/Getty Images

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March 27, 1977

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Operator                    Pan Am

Fatalities                     248

Crash location           Tenerife, Spain

Cause of crash           Misunderstanding between the tower and the aircraft led to it crashing into another aircraft.            

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Image: 31st March 1977: Mass of wreckage on the runway at Santa Cruz airport, Tenerife after 747 Jumbo Jets belonging to Pan-Am and KLM collided.
Photographs: Central Press/Getty Images

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August 12, 1985

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Operator                  Japan Airlines

Fatalities                  520

Crash location           Tano District, Gunma, Japan 

Cause of crash           Rupture of the aft pressure bulkhead of the aircraft

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Image: The image illustrates the damage the aircraft sustained that led to its crash.
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons

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November 12, 1996

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Operator                  Kazakhstan Airlines and Saudi Arabian Airlines

Fatalities                  349

Crash location           Charkhi Dadri, west of New Delhi

Cause of crash           Mid-air collision

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Image: Firemen hoses down the smouldering wreckage of a Saudi Arabian Boeing 747 November 13 that crashed to earth outside the Indian village of Charkhi Dadri after colliding with a Kazakh Ilyushin IL-76 cargo.
Photographs: Reuters

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March 3, 1974

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Operator                    Turkish Airlines

Fatalities                     346

Crash location          Ermenonville frest, near Paris

Cause of crash           Uncorrected known design flaw, that left the pilots without control

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Image: The site of the disaster at the Ermenonville frest near Paris
Photographs: Picture courtesy: turkishdc10/wordpress

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June 23, 1985

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Operator                  Air India Boeing 747, Emperor Kanishka

Fatalities                  329

Crash location              Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Ireland

Cause of crash           Bomb explosion

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Image: A door from the Air India jumbo jet that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean floats in the sea near Cork, Ireland.
Photographs: Reuters

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August 19, 1980

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Operator                    Saudi Arabian Airlines

Fatalities                     301

Crash location           Runway at the Riyadh airport

Cause of crash           Fire in the cargo compartment

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Image: Charred remains of Saudia Flight 163
Photographs: Reuters

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July 3, 1988

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Operator                    Iran Air

Fatalities                     290

Crash location           over Iran's territorial waters in the Persian Gulf

Cause of crash           Mistakenly shot down by the United States navy

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Image: The downed Iran Air Flight 655


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February 19, 2003

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Operator                    Iranian Revolutionary Guard 

Fatalities                     275

Crash location           Mountains near Kerman, Iran

Cause of crash           Bad weather and fog caused the aircraft to crash into mountains

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Image: A Revolutionary Guard grieves over his dead c-orescue workers look on, on a near Kerman, in southeastern Iran.
Photographs: Raheb Homavandi/Reuters
Tags: Iran , Kerman

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May 25, 1979

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Operator                    American Airlines

Fatalities                     271

Crash location           Des Plaines, Illinois, United States

Cause of crash           Loss of control after engine detachment, poor maintenance

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Image: Flight 191 photographed moments before it crashed
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons

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September 1, 1983

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Operator                    Korean Air Lines

Fatalities                     269

Crash location           Near MoneronIsland, west of SakhalinIsland, Sea of Japan

Cause of crash           Shot down by the Soviet air force

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Image: The wreckage of Korean Air Lines Flight 007


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April 26, 1994

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Operator                    China Airlines

Fatalities                     264

Crash location           Nagoya Airport, Japan           

Cause of crash           Stall caused by crew error

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Image: China Airlines Flight 140 crash site
Photographs: Photo courtesy: lessonslearned.faa.gov

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July 11, 1991

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Operator                    Nigeria Airways

Fatalities                     261

Crash location           King Abdul Aziz International Airport, Jeddah

Cause of crash           Under-inflated tyre caused a fire after take-off

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Image: Nigeria Airways 2120 crash site
Photographs: Photo courtesy: airdisaster.com

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November 12, 2001

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Operator                    American Airlines

Fatalities                    260

Crash location           Beach 131 Street, Queens, New York City

Cause of crash           Tail structure failure due to overuse of rudder controls

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Image: New York City firefighters in protective gear search the pit at the corner of Beach 131st street and Newport Street in the Rockaway Beach section of Queens, New York for human remains and evidence from the crash of American Airlines flight 587.
Photographs: Jim Bourg/Reuters

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December 21, 1988

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Operator                    Pan Am

Fatalities                     259

Crash location           Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

Cause of crash           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: Reuters

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November 28, 1979

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Operator                    Air New Zealand

Fatalities                     257

Crash location           Mount Erebus, RossIsland, Antarctica

Cause of crash           Aircrew was misdirected in their flight path

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Image: Wreckage of Flight 901 on the slopes of Mount Erebus.
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons

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December 12, 1985

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Operator                    Arrow Air      

Fatalities                     256

Crash location           Gander, Newfoundland, Canada

Cause of crash           Likely due to ice contamination on the wings

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Image: Wreckage from an Arrow Air DC-8 commercial aircraft is stored in a Gander Airport hangar for analysis by members of the Canadian Air Safety Board
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons

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September 26, 1997

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Operator                    Garuda           

Fatalities                     234     

Crash location           Ravine in the Sibolangit district south of Medan, Sumatra

Cause of crash           Confusion by the air traffic controller

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Image: Rescue workers near the torn fuselage of the Garuda Airlines Airbus A300 which crashed into heavy jungle near Medan in Sumatra.
Photographs: Reuters

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July 17, 1996

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Operator                    TWA  

Fatalities                     230

Crash location           Moriches Inlet ear East Moriches, New York

Cause of crash           Fuel tank explosion, caused by electrical spark

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Image: A large section of fuselage from TWA Flight 800 is lifted to shore from a navy barge August 3 at the Shinnecock Coast Guard station.
Photographs: Reuters

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September 2, 1998

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Operator                    Swissair

Fatalities                     229

Crash location           In-flight fire leading to electrical failure

Cause of crash           Atlantic Ocean, near St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada

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Image: The wreckage of Swissair Flight 111 is filmed by divers from the USS Grapple off the coast of Novia Scotia September 20
Photographs: Reuters/TV footage

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August 6, 1997

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Operator                  Korean Air

Fatalities                   228

Crash location          Nimitz Hill, Guam

Cause of crash         The captain failed to follow a normal non-precision approach

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Image: The crash site of Korean Airlines flight 801 is seen in an aerial view of the Sasa Valley, Guam.
Photographs: Reuters

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June 1, 2009

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Operator                    Air France

Fatalities                     228

Crash location           Atlantic Ocean

Cause of crash           Entered an irrecoverable aerodynamic stall and hit the ocean

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Image: A combination photo shows the Brazilian navy picking debris from Air France flight AF447 out of the Atlantic Ocean, some 745 miles (1,200 km) northeast of Recife, in these handout photos distributed by the navy in Recife, northeastern Brazil.
Photographs: Brazilian air force/Reuters

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May 25, 2002

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Operator                    China Airlines

Fatalities                     225

Crash location           Near the Penghu Islands above the Taiwan Strait     

Cause of crash           Disintegrated in mid-air

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Image: Relatives hold photos of loved ones who were aboard China Airlines flight CI 611 which crashed into the sea on Saturday prepare to board a Taiwan navy transportation ship, to make their way to a traditional spirit-calling ceremony near the island of Penghu.
Photographs: Simon Kwong/Reuters

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May 26, 1991

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Operator                    Lauda Air, Thailand

Fatalities                     223

Crash location           Phu Toei National Park, Suphanburi Province, Thailand       

Cause of crash           Aircraft broke up in mid-air due to thrust reverser deployment

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Image: The crash site


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October 31, 1999

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Operator                    EgyptAir

Fatalities                     217

Crash location           Atlantic Ocean

Cause of crash           Believed to be a deliberate action by the captain, disputed.

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Image: Debris from EgyptAir Flight 990, that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean 60 miles south of Nantucket Island, sits on the deck of Coast Guard Cutter Reliance.
Photographs: Reuters

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January 1, 1978

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Operator                    Air India        

Fatalities                     213

Crash location           Arabian Sea, near Mumbai

Cause of crash           Irrational control inputs by the captain

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Image: An image of the aircraft Ashoka at Paris-Orly Airport on January 1, 1976, two years before the accident.
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons

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July 10, 1985

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Operator                    Aeroflot/Uzbekistan

Fatalities                     200

Crash location           Uchkuduk, Uzbek SSR, Soviet Union

Cause of crash           Pilot error

Wikimedia Commons

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Image: An Aeroflot Tupolev Tu-154B-2 similar to the one involved in the accident
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons

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February 16, 1998

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Operator                    China Airlines

Fatalities                     182

Crash location           Taoyuan County, Taiwan

Cause of crash           Bad weather, pilot error

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Image: A China Airlines Airbus
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons

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December 4, 1974

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Operator                   Martinair Holland      

Fatalities                    191

Crash location           Maskeliya, Sri Lanka

Cause of crash          Collision with rising terrain owing to incorrect identification of their position

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Image: A panoramic view of the Saptha Kanya mountain range in Sri Lanka
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons

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February 6, 1996

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Operator                    Birgenair

Fatalities                    189

Crash location             26 km northeast of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Cause of crash            Compromised pitot tube leading to autopilot and pilot error

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Image: Memorial for the victims of Birgenair Flight 301 in Frankfurt's main cemetery
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons

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August 3, 1975

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Operator                   Alia Royal Jordanian Airlines

Fatalities                188

Crash location           Agadir, Morocco        

Cause of crash          After part of a wing separated, control was lost and the aircraft crashed into a ravine

 


Image: The crash site


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