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In PHOTOS: 20 most shocking aircraft disasters

Last updated on: June 5, 2012 13:58 IST

20 most shocking aircraft disasters

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Several 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 and pilot errors.

The latest crash involving a Dana Air Boeing MD-83 in Nigeria that killed all 153 passengers and crew on board sent shockwaves around the aviation industry and its passengers.

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

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Image: A crane lifts the tyres of a plane after it crashed at Iju-Ishaga neighbourhood in Lagos June 4, 2012
Photographs: Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters

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A Sukhoi Superjet 100 crashed on May 9, 2012 when it disappeared on a demonstration flight operating from Halim Perdanakusuma Airport, Jakarta, Indonesia.

On May 10, the wreckage of the Sukhoi Superjet was spotted on a cliff in Mount Salak, a volcano in the province of West Java.

Due to the widespread debris field where the aircraft hit the mountain, rescuers concluded that the aircraft directly impacted the rocky side of the mountain and that there was "no chance of survival"

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Image: File photo of a Sukhoi Superjet 100. (Inset) Debris and belongings of passengers of the Russian Sukhoi aircraft that crashed on the slopes of Mount Salak are seen at the wreckage site, near Bogor May 11
Photographs: Reuters

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A total of 127 people were killed when a Boeing 737-200 of Bhoja Air crashed a short distance from the international airport in the Pakistani garrison city of Rawalpindi, the second such accident in less than two years.

Bhoja Air's flight B4-213 from Karachi to Islamabad lost contact with air traffic control shortly after 6.30 pm on April 20, 2012 as it was coming in to land at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport, which serves both Islamabad and Rawalpindi, amidst bad weather

The plane slammed into the ground at Hussainabad village, located less than 10 km from the airport.

Debris was scattered over an area of over one kilometre and parts of the aircraft fell on some houses in the village.

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Image: A resident sits next to a tyre of the Boeing 737 airliner operated by local airline Bhoja Air, which crashed near Islamabad April 22
Photographs: Faisal Mahmood/Reuters

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Seven crew and 36 members of a popular ice hockey team and coaching staff died after their medium-range Yak-42 aircraft crashed and burst into flames shortly after takeoff from an airport near Yaroslavl in western Russia at about 4pm local time on September 7, 2011.

It was carrying the city's Lokomotiv ice hockey team to a match in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, scheduled two days later.

Russian media quoted a flight traffic controller saying the plane had failed to gain adequate height on takeoff. Witnesses said the plane rose no more than 10m before crashing and bursting into flames. The nose of the plane plunged into the Volga, leaving the rear part of the plane on dry land.

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Image: Rescue specialists lift the wreckage of a plane which crashed near the Russian city of Yaroslavl September 8, 2011
Photographs: Mikhail Voskresensky/Reuters

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A Hewa Bora Airways Boeing 727-100 flight EO-952 from Kinshana N'Djili to Kisangani (Democratic Republic of Congo) with 112 passengers and 6 crew missed Kisangani's runway while attempting to land in poor weather conditions (heavy rain, limited visibility, thunderstorms in the area) and broke up coming to rest about 300 meters from the runway, on July 8, 2011.

Of the 118 on board, 75 perished.

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Image: The wreckage of the Hewa Bora Airways passenger jet burns at the crash site in Goma, capital of Democratic Republic of Congo's eastern North Kivu province, April 16, 2008
Photographs: Anna Ridout/World Vision/Handout/Reuters

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An Iran Air Boeing 727 aircraft with 106 on board crashed while attempting to land in bad weather in the city of Urumiyeh, located in a mountainous area near the border with Turkey, about 1,000 km (625 miles) northwest of the capital Tehran.

77 passengers were killed in the crash.

State television showed the wreckage of the plane, which appeared to have broken into several sections on impact. Huge gaps were torn in the fuselage, parts of which were open to the night air as snow fell.

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Image: Firemen put out remnants of fire in a plane that caught fire while landing in Mashad, 924 km northwest of Tehran January 24, 2010
Photographs: Stringer/Reuters

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An Air Blue passenger plane carrying 152 people crashed at Margalla Hills near Pakistan's capital Islamabad on July 28, 2010.

All passengers were killed.

The crash scorched a wide stretch of the Margalla Hills, including a section behind Faisal Mosque, one of Islamabad's most prominent landmarks

Twisted metal wreckage hung from trees and lay scattered across the ground. Smoke rose from the scene as helicopters hovered.

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Image: A helicopter airlifts a blood-stained sack containing the recovered bodies of victims from the wreckage of an Airblue passenger plane which crashed in Islamabad's Margalla Hills July 28, 2010
Photographs: Sameer Ijaz/Reuters

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On May 23, 2010, an Air India Express Boeing aircraft from Dubai with 166 persons on board crashed and caught fire after it overshot the runway while trying to land at the Mangalore's Bajpe airport.

Only 8 people survived the crash.

According to aviation officials, the aircraft overshot the runway, hit a fence and went beyond the boundary wall of the airport. First, one tyre burst, then the other tyre burst and the plane caught fire. The aircraft then broke into pieces

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Image: Forensic officials and rescue workers inspect the wreckage of a crashed Air India Express passenger plane in Mangalore May 23, 2010
Photographs: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

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On May 13, 2010, Libyan airliner Afriqiyah Airways flight 771 crashed on landing at Tripoli International Airport, killing all onboard except one child.

It has been reported that the Airbus A330-202 was carrying 104 onboard.

Weather conditions above the airport were very poor at the time of the crash, said an Afriqiyah staff member. Low-hanging clowds had reduced visibility. Witnesses reported the aircraft broke apart while it was on its approach, "it exploded on landing and totally disintegrated".

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Image: A cameraman works near a destroyed Afriqiyah Airways aircraft at the Tripoli Airport August 25, 2011
Photographs: Louafi Larbi/Reuters

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On January 23, 2010, 90 passengers and crew of an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft were killed after it crashed shortly after take off.

The Boeing 737-800 had just taken off from Beirut and was headed to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, when it went down in the Mediterranean sea, a few kilometers off Lebanon's coast.

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Image: A combo image shows underwater photos of parts of the Ethiopian Airlines plane which crashed into the Mediterranean sea on January 25, 2010, during a news conference held by Lebanon's Minister of Public Works and Transport Ghazi Aridi at Beirut international airport, February 11, 2010.
Photographs: Jamal Saidi/Reuters

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On July 19, 2009, a Tupolev TU-154M belonging to Iran-based Caspian Air crashed near Qazvin, Iran about 140 km from capital Tehran, with 168 passengers and crew on board.

The plane was heading to the Armenian capital of Yerevan and took off from Tehran only 16 minutes before the crash.

All on board flight number 7908 were killed.

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Image: A Red Crescent volunteer moves the fan blades of an engine from a Tupolev Tu-154 passenger plane crash near Janatabad, 150 km (93 miles) west of Tehran July 15, 2009
Photographs: Morteza Nikoubazl/Reuters

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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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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: File photo of a Japan Airlines aircraft
Photographs: Wikipedia

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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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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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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