7 Worst Airplane Crashes in History
It has been said that aviation is one of the safest modes of transportation in the world today. The claim is even backed with plenty of evidence, as well. However, when an airplane does unfortunately crash, it can be a horrific scene.
Throughout the years following the invention of air travel, there have been many terrible airplane crashes in history, but some were simply far worse than others. We will be taking a closer look at the worst of the worst in plane crashes that have shook the world.
These are the seven worst airplane crashes in history:
1. American Airlines Flight 191 (271 deaths)
There were 271 souls on the flight that left Chicago O’Hare airport on May 25, 1979. The Memorial Day weekend was about to be irreparably tarnished for many people close to the passengers, as the left engine detached from the wing, causing it to fall off.
Naturally, this sent the entire plane into an uncontrollable roll that inevitably ended with it crashing to earth a mere mile from the runway. The site of the crash could be seen up to eight miles away thanks to a tall pillar of flame and smoke rising from the crash.
Sadly, all 271 passengers were lost, as well as two souls caught in the crash on the ground. It was one of the worst airplane crashes in American history.
2. Turkish Airlines Flight 981 (335 deaths)
On March 3rd, 1974, there were 335 passengers eager to make the journey from London to Paris. Really, it should have been a nice little trip to one of the most romantic cities on the planet. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned, as there was an incorrectly closed latch in the cargo hold.
This caused the cargo door to fly open during flight. When this happens, it causes a phenomenon known as explosive decompression. As you can imagine, this would lead to severe issues within the plane, leading it to a violent crash.
None of the 335 passengers survived the incident, and there was a total of 346 victims as a result of the crash.
3. Japan Airlines Flight 123 (505 deaths)
A trip from Tokyo, Japan to Osaka, Japan should be a relatively easy and quick trip on a normal day. On August 12, 1985, however, the short trip turned into a day of finality for most of the passengers when an explosion destroyed the vertical stabilizer of the plane, and cost it a good chunk of the tail.
For over half an hour the pilots valiantly fought to stay in the air. Sadly, the struggle ended when the plane crashed into Mount Takamagahara.
Of the 509 passengers on board, only 4 survived one of the worst airplane crashes in history.
4. Air India Flight 182 (329 deaths)
It is an unfortunate truth that airplanes are enticing targets for terrorists of all types. In the world of today, airport security is far tighter than it used to be. For instance, a big factor that allowed a crash that occurred on June 23, 1985 were numerous failings in the security processes in a Canadian airport.
Due to these unfortunate failings, a terrorist was able to get a suitcase onto the flight that contained a bomb. Sadly, the bomb was detonated somewhere over the Atlantic mid-flight.
Known as one of the worst airplane crashes in India, there were 329 casualties as a result.
5. Saudi Arabian Airlines flight 763/Kazakhstan Airlines flight 1907 (349 deaths)
There are many dangers to be concerned about when an airplane takes flight. No matter how improbable they may be, there is always a chance that disaster will strike. This was incredibly true on November 12, 1996 when two airplanes had a mid-air collision, resulting in the worst collision of its kind in recorded history.
It was a costly error in communication that cost the lives of 349 people.
6. Africa Air Antonov 32 (225-348 deaths)
Something to think about regarding an airplane crash is where the crash actually happens. It is not uncommon for a plane to crash in a remote area, away from any towns or buildings. However, there is a precedent for planes crashing into populated areas. This was the case on January 8, 1996.
On that day, a cargo plane crashed into a bustling market in what was then known as Kinshasa, Zaire. The plane was attempting takeoff when it was quickly realized that the plane was far overweight. This resulted in it barreling down the runway towards the market, unable to leave the ground.
It was later revealed that the pilots of the flight were not qualified to fly that plane, and may very well have been intoxicated. While the exact number of casualties is unknown, sources believe the number lies somewhere between 225 and 348.
7. KLM flight 4805/Pan Am flight 1736 (600 deaths)
Sometimes, there is simply a perfect storm of bad conditions that make for a large disaster. The conditions on the day of March 27, 1977 resulted in what is known as the worst aviation related accident in history that did not involve terrorism.
Radio interference caused by an incredibly heavy fog at Tenerife North Airport in the Canary Islands made it essentially impossible for the two planes to hear or see each other on the runway. Therefore, it caused the two planes to collide in such a way that the KLM flight burst into flames.
All aboard the KLM flight were killed in the incident, but 61 people managed to survive the Pan Am flight. There were nearly 600 deaths in total, resulting in one of the worst airplane crashes in history.