Top 10 Worst Plane Crashes


1. Turkish Airlines Flight 981 (1974)

Turkish Airlines Flight 981

In 1974 the cargo door at the rear of the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 plane broke off, causing and explosive decompression which destroyed cables necessary to control the plane. Turkish Airlines Flight 981 crashed outside of the Paris and killed 346 people.

2. Tenerife Airport Disaster (1977)

Tenerife Airport Disaster

In 1977 the Tenerife airport disaster was a fatal runway collision between two Boeing 747, one belonging to KLM and other to Pan Am.

Pan Am has come from Los Angeles, after a stopover in New York, while KLM came from its home base in Amsterdam. As it happens, neither of the planes was supposed to be in Tenerife. They were scheduled to land at Las Palmas, where passengers were on their way to meet cruise ships. But they were diverted to Los Rodeos, after a bomb explosion in the Las Palmas airport.

This was the deadliest accident in aviation history in which 586 people died. In order to reduce the chance of misunderstandings which played crucial role in leading events the air traffic control phraseology was standardized.

3. Air New Zealand Flight 901 (1979)

Air New Zealand Flight 901 (1980)

During 1977-1979 the Air New Zealand offered sightseeing route from New Zealand to Antarctica. In 1979 the Air New Zealand DC-10 crashed into Mt. Erebus. 257 people were killed. This accident remains New Zealand’s deadliest plane disaster. The accident was a direct result of pilot error and became known as the Mount Erebus accident.

4. American Airlines Flight 191 (1979)

American Airlines Flight 191 (1979)

American Airlines Flight 191 crashed after take-off from Chicago O’Hare when engine on the left wing separated and flipped over the top of the wing and damaged the plane. 271 people on board were killed. This was the most devastating air disaster on U.S. land.

5.  Saudia Arabian Flight 163 (1980)

In Saudi Arabian Flight 163 plane crash, 287 passengers were killed alongside 14 crew members. The Lockheed L-1011 caught fire 7 minutes after take-off form Riyadh Airport. The aural warning indicated smoke in the cargo compartment so the plane made an emergency landing at the airport and burst into flames. The evacuation was never initiated because all of the occupants were incapacitated by the smoke and fire inside the airplane.

6. Japan Airlines Flight 123 (1985)

Japan Airlines Flight 123 (1985)

The Japan Airlines Flight was scheduled from Tokyo Airport to Osaka Airport. In 1985 Boeing 747 SR suffered a catastrophic mechanical failure that led to explosive decompression. The plane crashed into the ridges of Mount Takamagahara, 100km (62 miles) from Toyko.

7. Nigeria Airways Flight 2120 (1991)

Nigeria Airways Flight 2120 (1991)

Nigeria Airways Flight 2120 was flying from Saudi Arabia to Nigeria, the plane crashed shortly after take-off from the Saudi Arabia Airport. 247 passengers and 14 crew members were killed. The crew attempted to return to the airport for the emergency landing, but the aircraft caught fire. Manager, unwilling to accept the delay disregarded the request of the mechanic for two tires to be inflated with nitrogen gas. Ignoring this problem caused the loss of control of the aircraft and fatal plane crash.

8. China Airways Flight 140 (1994)

China Airways Flight 140 crashed due to the pilot error. The plane was scheduled from Taiwan to Japan. Prior to landing the first officer inadequately pressed the take-off /go-around button. The pilot and copilot were unable to remedy the situation after the autopilot Airbus A300 kicked in. The crash killed 264 people of 271 people on board. All survived passengers were seated in rows from 7 throughout 15.  This accident remains the second deadliest accident that happened in Japanese soil and the deadliest accident in the history of China Airlines.

9.  Charkhi Dadri Mid-Air Collision (1996)

Charkhi Dadri Mid-Air Collision (1996)

The world’s deadliest mid-air collision occurred over the west of New Delhi. The crash killed 349 people on both flights. A Saudi Arabian flight 763 (Boeing 747) from India to Saudi Arabia crashed with Kazakhstan Airlines Flight 1907 (Ilyushin II-76). At the time both airplanes didn’t have radar and they relied on the ATC Dutta ground control to warn them about possible danger. However the ground control warned the flight too late and the two planes collided.

10. American Airlines Flight 587 (2001)

American Airlines Flight 587 was an Airbus A300 that crashed after take-off from JFK airport in New York. The plane was on a scheduled flight to the Dominican Republic. 251 passengers and 9 crew members were killed in this second deadliest aviation accident in the U.S.

The crash was caused by the turbulence from another aircraft taking off from the airport.

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