Airplanes demonstrate the height of advancement of our technology and science. It’s truly a masterpiece radiating with unmatched supremacy and power. With these awe inspiring machines, we have been able to soar into the skies and fly across the horizons. It’s one of the dreams of mankind which actually manifested in physical forms and came true.

Travelling in an aircraft is a pleasurable and thrilling experience, to say the least. There are some who thoroughly enjoy flying while others who are truly terrified. And they have a point too. Aircraft accidents are the least common ones, but when they do occur, they incur the highest fatality rate with terrifying aftermaths. Here’s a list of the most horrific aviation accidents ever to occur.

Tenerife disaster:

Date: March 27, 1977

Fatalities: 583

Aircraft: KLM Boeing 747 & Pan Am 747

Location: Tenerife, Spain

Cause: Pilot’s misunderstanding, thick fog.

Tenerife disaster

It’s considered one of the worst aviation tragedies ever. KLM Boeing went ahead for a take off without clearance and rammed the Pam Am, killing all passengers on board the KLM Boeing whereas only 61 passengers of Pam Am survived.

Charkhi Dadri collision:

Date: November 12, 1996

Fatalities: 349

Aircraft: Saudia Flight 763 and Air Kazakhstan Flight 1907

Location: Haryana, India

Cause: Kazakh aircraft was flying at a lower altitude than specified.

Charkhi Dadri collision

This was a mid-air collision where one aircraft rammed the other, killing all aboard the two aircrafts instantly.

JAL Flight 123:

Date: August 12, 1985

Fatalities: 520

Aircraft: Japan Airlines Flight 123

Location: Japan

Cause: Failure of incorrectly repaired aft pressure bulkhead causing explosive decompression.

japan airlines flight

This accident marks one of the highest causality tolls up to date. Even though the pilots managed to control the aircraft for a while, it was impossible to keep at it for long; eventually it crashed into a mountain.

Air India Flight 182:

Date: June 23, 1985

Fatalities: 329

Aircraft: Air India Flight 182 Boeing 747-237B

Location: Ireland

Cause: Bomb explosion in cargo

Air India 182

It was one of the deadliest terrorist attacks which was planned using an aircraft. The Sikhs were behind this to get back at the government.

Ermenonville air disaster:

Date: March 3, 1974

Fatalities: 346

Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas DC-10

Location: Ermenonville Forest, France

Cause: Technical carelessness causing rear cargo hatch to blow off, resulting in decompression

Ermenonville air disaster

This one occurred due to technical mishandling and general disregard of safety by the staff responsible for loading the cargo. Also the design of the latch of the cargo of aircraft was at fault.

Air Africa crash:

Date: January 8, 1996

Fatalities: Around 300

Aircraft: Air Africa Antonov An-32B

Location: Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

Cause: The aircraft was overloaded, and it failed to take off, instead overshooting the runway and crashing into the side street market.

Air Africa crash January 8, 1996

The Air Africa crash holds the record for the highest number of deaths on land due to an aircraft. Despite the fact that overload was the primary cause of the accident, no attention was given to this which again caused two more separate accidents.

Iran Air Flight 655:

Date: July 3, 1988

Fatalities: 290

Aircraft: Airbus A300B2-203

Location: Strait of Hormuz, Persian Gulf

Cause: The aircraft was shot down by United States Navy guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes (CG-49) who wrongly identified it as an enemy craft.

Iran Air Flight 655

After this killing of innocents, the U.S. government did issue regret for the loss of innocent human life but refused to admit they were mistaken and did not accept responsibility nor did they submit an apology to the Iranian government.

2003 Iran Ilyushin Il-76 crash:

Date: February 19, 2003

Fatalities: 275

Aircraft: Ilyushin Il-76

Location: Kerman, Iran

Cause: The cause remains unknown and disputed.

2003 Iran Ilyushin Il-76 crash

It is classified as one of the most ambiguous crashes with little known about its cause. Some blame it on bad weather, other on collision and yet others on terrorists.

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