Accidents really happen when you least expect it. Who would have known that these aircraft would crash when they did? Sometimes, mistakes happen, despite rigorous training and meticulous checkups have been done. Find out the top 10 tragic plane crashes that happened in the history of aviation.
1. 9/11 Flights
The September 11, 2001 bombings were all coordinated by the Islamic terrorist group known as al-Qaeda. Four passenger airlines were involved all bound for California that day. There were 19 al-Qaeda terrorists who hijacked the planes to be flown into buildings. The American Airlines Flight 11 and the United Airlines Flight 175 were both flown through the North and South Towers, respectively, causing the World Trade Center to collapse.
The American Airlines flight 77 was flown into the Pentagon. And the United Airlines Flight 93, that was supposed to steer towards Washington, D.C., crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. A total of 2,996 people died that day.
2. Malaysia Airlines Flight 17
The Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was an international flight scheduled from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. It was shot down over Ukraine, killing 283 passengers and 15 crew members.
Three days prior to the incident, the International Civil Aviation Organization has already warned governments to exercise extreme caution when flying over some parts of Ukraine, as the country is under the ongoing 2014 Crimean Crisis. The investigation report showed that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile.
3. Tenerife Airport disaster
The Tenerife Airport Collision occurred in Tenerife of the Canary Islands. It was a runway collision between KLM Flight 4805 and Pan Am Flight 1736. Because of the heavy fog that covered the runway that day, neither the air traffic controllers nor the two aircraft could be seen.
The KLM flight tried to take off, believing that it has clearance to do so from the controller. The Pan Am Flight was on the runway by then, and this caused the collision of the two due to communication misunderstandings.
4. Charkhi Dadri mid-air collision
The Charkhi Dadri mid-air collision was the world’s deadliest mid-air collision in history, killing 349 passengers on both planes. It involved the Saudi Arabian Airlines Boeing Flight 763 and the Kazakhstan Airlines Flight 1907.
The two planes collided with each other because of the failure of the Kazakhstan Airlines Flight 1907 to follow ATC instructions, either due to turbulence or communication problems.
When the Kazakhstan plane climbed a bit higher, it collided with the Saudi plane and clipped the left-wing of the Saudi jet in the process.
5. Air India flight 182
On June 23, 1985, the Air India Flight was scheduled for the Montreal, Canada-London, UK-Delhi, India way. It was bombed at 31,000 feet due to a terrorist attack, killing all of its 329 passengers. The incident was also linked to the Narita Airport bombing that same day.
Those who were responsible for the bombings were said to be the Sikh militant group, Babbar Khalsa. It was the biggest mass murder in Canadian history.
6. Saudi Flight 163
Saudi Flight 163 was scheduled for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, but caught fire as soon as it took off from Riyadh International Airport on August 19, 1980.
About 287 passengers and 14 crew members died that day, as it made an emergency landing back at Riyadh International airport. It was the deadliest disaster in aviation history that did not involve a crash on impact or mid-flight break up.
7. Pan Am Flight 103
The Pan Am Flight 103 was a transatlantic flight from Frankfurt going to Detroit via London and New York. The plane was destroyed by a terrorist bomb, killing 243 passengers and crew members on December 21, 1988.
It was also known as the “Lockerbie bombing” because fragments of the plane crashed onto Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed eleven more people on the ground.
8. Korean Airlines flight 007
The Korean Airlines Flight 007was scheduled to fly from New York City to Seoul, South Korea via Anchorage, Alaska. The plane was shot down by an interceptor aircraft of the Soviet Union on September 1, 1983.
It was a Sukhoi Su-15 on a spy mission. All of the 269 passengers and crew were all killed in the incident.
9. TWA Flight 800
The Trans World Airlines Flight 800 was a scheduled passenger flight to Rome via Paris. It was initially thought to be a result of a terrorist attack, but the investigation concluded that the crash was likely caused by the explosion of flammable fuel or air vapors in a fuel tank.
The plane exploded and crashed into the Atlantic on July 17, 1996, killing everyone on board which totaled to about 230 people.
10. Air France flight 447
Air France flight 447 was scheduled from Rio de Janeiro going to Brazil on June 1, 2009. But due to an aerodynamic stall, which the plane was not able to recover from.
It crashed into the Atlantic Ocean killing 228 passengers including aircrew and cabin crew. After the black boxes were discovered 2 years later, in May 2011, a second investigation ensued.
The reports revealed that the plane crashed due to inconsistencies in airspeed measurements that cause the autopilot to disconnect.
These disasters have caused so much grief, not only for families but also from nations around the world. Hopefully, these incidents will endeavor for governments to improve aviation safety and efficacy.