Air travel has become a popular and convenient mode of transportation for millions of people around the world. However, tragic plane crashes have occurred throughout aviation history, resulting in a devastating loss of life. Here are the top 10 deadliest plane crashes in history, based on the number of fatalities:
List of Top 10 Deadliest Plane Crashes Accidents
1)Tenerife Airport Disaster – 583 fatalities
On March 27, 1977, two Boeing 747 passenger jets collided on the runway of Los Rodeos Airport (now known as Tenerife North Airport) in the Canary Islands, Spain. The crash was caused by a series of miscommunications and misunderstandings between the air traffic controllers and the pilots, leading to poor visibility and confusion, resulting in the collision. It remains the deadliest aviation accident in history, with 583 people losing their lives.
2) Japan Airlines Flight 123 – 520 fatalities
On August 12, 1985, Japan Airlines Flight 123, a Boeing 747, suffered a structural failure due to a faulty repair after a tail strike years earlier. The pilots struggled to control the aircraft, and it eventually crashed into a mountain near Tokyo, Japan. Despite valiant efforts to save the passengers, only 4 out of 524 people on board survived, making it the deadliest single-aircraft accident in history.
3) Charkhi Dadri mid-air collision – 349 fatalities
On November 12, 1996, a Saudi Arabian Airlines Boeing 747 and a Kazakhstan Airlines Ilyushin Il-76 collided mid-air near Charkhi Dadri, India. The crash was a result of a breakdown in communication and confusion among the air traffic controllers, resulting in the two planes colliding at an altitude of 14,000 feet. There were no survivors in both planes.
4) American Airlines Flight 191 – 273 fatalities
American Airlines Flight 191, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10, crashed after takeoff from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on May 25, 1979. The crash was caused by an engine detachment due to maintenance errors, resulting in the loss of control and subsequent crash. The plane’s 271 passengers and crew, as well as two persons on the ground, were all murdered.
5) Turkish Airlines Flight 981 – 346 fatalities
On March 3, 1974, Turkish Airlines Flight 981, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10, crashed in France after the rear cargo door blew open during the flight. The sudden decompression caused the floor above the cargo hold to collapse, severing critical control cables, leading to the loss of control and crash. There were no survivors among the 335 passengers and 11 crew members on board.
6) Air India Flight 182 – 329 fatalities
On June 23, 1985, Air India Flight 182, a Boeing 747, was bombed by terrorists while en route from Canada to India. The bomb was planted in the cargo hold and exploded, causing the plane to disintegrate in mid-air over the Atlantic Ocean. All 307 passengers and 22 crew members on board lost their lives.
7) Saudi Arabian Airlines Flight 163 – 301 fatalities
On August 19, 1980, Saudi Arabian Airlines Flight 163, a Lockheed L-1011 Tristar, caught fire shortly after takeoff from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The crew made an emergency landing, but the plane was not immediately evacuated. By the time the fire was extinguished, all 301 passengers and crew members had died, mainly from smoke inhalation, as the plane had no fire detection or suppression system.
8) Air France Flight 447 – 228 fatalities
On June 1, 2009, Air France
Flight 447, an Airbus A330, crashed into the Atlantic Ocean while flying from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Paris, France. The crash was caused by a combination of technical failures and human error, including sensor malfunctions and the pilots’ failure to respond correctly to the situation. The 228 people on board, including the crew, dead.
9) Iran Air Flight 655 – 290 fatalities
On July 3, 1988, Iran Air Flight 655, an Airbus A300, was shot down by a missile from the United States Navy guided-missile cruiser USS Vincennes in the Persian Gulf. The U.S. military mistakenly identified the civilian aircraft as an attacking fighter jet, resulting in the tragic loss of all 290 passengers and crew members on board.
10) Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 – 176 fatalities
On January 8, 2020, Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752, a Boeing 737, was shot down by a missile near Tehran, Iran. The missile was fired by the Iranian military, mistakenly thinking the aircraft was a threat. All 176 passengers and crew members, including many Canadian and Iranian citizens, were killed.
These are the top 10 deadliest plane crashes in history, each resulting in a significant loss of life and leaving a lasting impact on the aviation industry and the families of the victims. Aviation authorities and organizations continue to learn from these tragic events, implementing improved safety measures and procedures to prevent similar accidents in the future. While air travel remains one of the safest modes of transportation, these incidents serve as a sobering reminder of the importance of continuous vigilance in ensuring the safety and security of air travel.
Plane crashes are devastating events that can result in immense loss of life and profound impacts on the aviation industry and beyond. The top 10 deadliest plane crashes in history, including the Tenerife Airport Disaster, serve as reminders of the critical importance of safety measures in aviation operations. Lessons learned from these tragic events have led to significant changes in communication protocols, training, and infrastructure to prevent similar accidents in the future.
As technology advances and aviation practices continue to evolve, the aviation industry remains committed to enhancing safety measures and minimizing risks associated with air travel. Continuous improvements in training, procedures, and technology are being implemented to ensure the highest level of safety for passengers and crew.
While the history of aviation is marked by tragic plane crashes, each incident has led to important lessons that have shaped the industry’s approach to safety. Through ongoing vigilance, innovation, and cooperation among stakeholders, the aviation community strives to prevent accidents and ensure that air travel remains one of the safest modes of transportation.