How safe is flying? Are 2014’s crashes one-off accidents or indicators of incipient problems in the aviation industry? A fortnight after AirAsia’s flight QZ8501, carrying 155 passengers and seven crew members from Surabaya to Singapore, crashed into the Java Sea, the questions have got louder, the unease more evident.
21st March 1977: 562 people died in the world’s worst-ever air disaster when a KLM 747 jumbo jet collided with a Pan-Am 747 jumbo on the runway of Santa Cruz Airport, Tenerife. Getty Images
Here are the 10 deadliest air travel disasters….
1. Tenerife Airport Disaster, 1977
Airlines: KLM and Pan Am
Cause: Heavy fog, failure in communication and pilot error on part of KLM.
2. Japan Airlines Flight 123, 1985
Cause: Crashed into the ridges of Mount Takamagahara due to mechanical failure
3. Charkhi-Dadri mid-air collision, 1996
Airlines: Kazakhstan Airlines and Saudi Arabian Airlines.
Cause: The mid-air collision, which took place over the village of Charkhi-Dadri near New Delhi, was the result of an error by the Kazakhstan Airlines pilot.
4. Ermenonville Air Disaster, 1974
Airline: Turkish Airlines Flight 981
Cause: Crashed when the cables necessary to control the aircraft were severed due to the decompression caused by the poorly-secured cargo door.
March 4, 1974: People at the scene in Forest of Ermenonville, where a Turkish Airline DC-10 crashed killing all the passengers on board
5. Kanishka air disaster, 1985
Airline: Air India
Cause: Terror attack/bomb on board
6. Saudia Flight 163, 1980
Cause: Pilot error, fire in the cargo hold
7. Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, 2014
Cause: Airline shootdown by pro-Russian separatists in Torez, Ukraine
The debries of the MH17 flight
8. Iran Air Flight 655, 1988
Cause: The plane was shot down by the USS Vincennes, a US Navy missile cruiser
9. Iran Ilyushin II-76 crash, 2003
Airline: The Ilyushin II-76 aircraft was carrying personnel from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard
Cause: Pilot error triggered by poor weather
10. American Airlines flight 191, 1979
Cause: Engine detachment resulting from faulty maintenance, leading to loss of control just minutes after take off from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport