Most Deadly Aviation/Plane Disasters In History

Warning: Images may not be appropriate for all viewers. If you plan of flying soon, this may not be the best thing for you to read. Many flights get from point A to point B with no problems, but in some cases, accidents do happen. Here is a list of the most deadly aviation/plane crashes.




The four flights involved in 9/11 were responsible for the greatest single day loss of life in commercial aviation history. Two of the flights, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 each were responsible for thousands of casualties after being driven into the World Trade Centers and are considered the largest and second largest losses of life due to individual plane crashes in all of aviation history with 1700 and 1000 people killed.


Tenerife Airport Disaster – 583 dead : In terms of passengers and crew killed this collision between two Boeing 747s on the Spanish Island of Tenerife is considered the deadliest plane crash in history.


Japan Airlines Flight 123 – 520 dead : On August 12, 1985 a flight from Tokyo to Osaka crashed into Mount Takamagahara leaving only 4 survivors.


Charkhi Dadri mid-air collision – 349 dead : The deadliest mid-air collision in history, Saudi Arabian airlines and Kazakhstan airlines crashed just west of New Delhi killing everyone on both planes. An investigation found that once again a lack of English language skills on behalf of the Kazakh pilots was the primary cause.


Ermenonville air disaster – 346 dead : After a Moroccan baggage handler was unable to read the proper latching instructions in either English or Turkish on Turkish airlines flight 981, the latch blew off mid flight as the plane crashed into Ermonville forest near Paris, France. Furthermore, the latches had a known design flaw.


Air India Flight 182 – 329 dead : June, 1985 a bomb exploded onboard Air India Flight 182 as it was flying between London and Montreal. The plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of Ireland. A Canadian Sikh militant group was responsible.


Saudia Flight 163 – 301 dead : This flight from Rihadh to Jeddah caught fire shortly after takeoff. It turned around and made an emergency landing but everyone on board died of smoke inhalation before fire crews could get inside. The fire was started due to butane stoves used by Muslim pilgrims because of their strict dietary restrictions.


Iran Air Flight 655 – 290 dead : During the Iraq-Iran war on July 3, 1988 the USS Vincennes shot down Iran Air Flight 665 going between Tehran and Dubai due to confused communications.


Iranian Air Force – 275 dead : February, 2003 an Iranian Air Force plane carrying Revolutionary Guards on an unknown mission crashed into the mountains near Kerman leaving no survivors.


American Airlines Flight 191 – 273 dead : Just moments after takeoff the left engine of Flight 191 from Chicago to Los Angeles came off. The plane rolled, turned upside down and crashed into a field. A firefighter on the scene was quoted as saying that not a single complete body was found.


Lockerbie Bombing – 270 dead : December in 1988 a bomb exploded on Pan Am Flight 103 from London to New York City. The plane crashed in a field near Lockerbie, Scotland killing 11 people on the ground. Two Libyan nationals were eventually convicted.


Korean Air Lines Flight 007 – 269 dead : September 1, 1983 a Soviet fighter pilot shot down flight 007 from Anchorage, Alaska to Seoul, South Korea when it temporarily entered restricted Soviet airspace.


American Airlines Flight 587 – 265 dead : November 12, 2001 shortly after the 9/11 attacks flight 587 from New York to Santo Domingo crashed just after takeoff. The cause was pilot error due to overusing the rudder in response to wake turbulence from the plane that took off before it.


China Airlines Flight 140 – 264 dead : April 26, 1994 flight 140 from Taipei, Taiwan to Nagoya, Japan crashed just before landing when the pilot accidentally hit the TOGA button (take-off, go around). This button raises the throttle position to the the same that is used during take offs. There were 7 survivors.


Nigeria Airways Flight 2120 – 261 dead : July 11, 1991 passengers started falling from the bottom of flight 2120 which was taking off from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia towards Sokoto, Nigeria. A fire had burned through the floor because a deflated tire had overheated on takeoff. The plane crashed shortly thereafter.


Mount Erebus disaster – 257 dead : November 1979 an Antarctic site seeing flight that left from New Zealand in the morning and returned in the evening crashed into Mt Erebus in Antarctica killing everyone on-board.


Arrow Air Flight 1285 – 256 dead : This flight carried US military personnel from Cairo, Egypt back to Fort Campbell, Kentucky via Cologne, Germany, and Newfoundland, Canada. Just after taking off from Newfoundland on the last leg of its flight it crashed.


1996 Air Africa crash – 237 dead : Air Africa flight from Kinshasa to Kehemba airport in Democratic Republic of the Congo overshot the runway and ran into a marketplace. All 6 Russian crew members survived but there were numerous fatalities on the ground.


Garuda Indonesia Flight 152 – 234 dead : September 26, 1997 Indonesian flight 152 crashed into a mountainous ravine just before landing due to miscommunication with the tower. Apparently there was another flight 152 approaching as well.


TWA Flight 800 – 230 dead : Trans World Airlines Flight 800 exploded and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean shortly after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport on its way to Paris. The likely cause was determined to be a short circuit.


Swissair Flight 111 – 229 dead : September 1998 Swissair flight 111 from New York to Geneva crashed into the ocean just off of Nova Scotia due to a rapidly spreading cockpit fire.


Air France Flight 447 – 228 dead : Flight 447 disappeared on its way to Paris from Rio De Janeiro. Although the wreckage was found after 5 days the black box was recovered 2 years later. The cause was found to be an inappropriate pilot response to faulty air speed indicators due to bad weather conditions and ice.


Korean Air Flight 801 – 228 dead : Despite protests from the flight engineer that the captain was not detecting the correct signal for landing, he pressed on and guided flight 801 from Seoul, South Korea directly into the Guam mountainside leaving only 26 survivors.


China Airlines Flight 611 – 225 dead : May 2002 flight 611 from Taiwan to Hong Kong disintegrated mid flight due to faulty repairs 22 years earlier.



Here are some extreme crashes caught on camera


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