While airline disasters are spectacular and often cause tragically large losses of life, it’s worth noting that airline travel remains among the safest modes of travel. In a statistical sense, airplanes are far safer than cars. Each day, three million people fly; In 2000, commercial airliners carried 1.09 billion people on 18 million flights, while suffering only 20 fatal accidents. On the other hand, automobile accidents kill more than 40,000 each year in the United States alone.
New York, New York
September 11, 2001
The majority of the deaths here were, of course, on the ground, as Islamic terrorists flew two 767s into the World Trade Center buildings.
Tenerife, Canary Islands
March 27, 1977
583 people were killed when two Boeing 747s collided on a foggy runway.The KLM jet had departed without permission, and struck the Pan Am as it taxied on the same runway.
Mount Fuji, Japan
August 12, 1985
A Japan Airlines 747 crashed near Mount Fuji shortly after takeoff. The crash was blamed on the rupture of a rear bulkhead. The crash wasn’t the end of the deaths, though. A maintenance supervisor later committed suicide over the incident.
November 12, 1996
Traveling from Kazakhstan, an Ilyushhin IL-76 Cargo plane collided with a Saudia 747. The collision was blamed on the Kazakhstan crew, which ignored instructions.
Orly Airport, France
March 3, 1974
The cargo door of Turkish Airlines DC-10 burst open, causing de-pressurization, the failure of the airplane’s floor, and severing the control cables. The airplane crashed just outside of Paris.
June 23, 1985
Sikh extremists planted a bomb on an Air India 757, which blew up over the Irish Sea enroute to Bombay. A second bomb, intended for another airliner, blew up in the luggage facility.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
August 19, 1980
The Saudia L-1011 made a safe emergency landing after an on board fire, then taxied to the end of the runway. Strangely, the plane did not evacuate, and the engines continued to run. Three minutes later, a flash fire ignited the airplane and all aboard were killed.
July 3, 1988
An Iran Air Airbus A300 is mistakenly shot down by a US Navy Destroyer
May 25, 1979
Until 9-11, the single largest loss of life in a US aviation incident. An engine fell off a DC-10, damaging the wing and rolling the airplane. Crashing a mile from the airport, it exploded in a huge fireball.
December 21, 1988
Libyan agents planted a bomb aboard Pan Am flight 103. Casualties included 11 on the ground.