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The Deadliest Airline Accidents In Human History

September 30th, 2013 by in History with 3,370 Views

Airplane accidents are known for their destructive nature. For a person to survive an air accident is next to impossible. Of all the air accidents that have happened since the invention of the first ever aircraft, here are some of the deadliest airline accidents in human history:

5.  Air Africa Crash (1996)

There has never been an airplane crash as fatal as this one. It took place in 1996 in Kinshasha, a major city at the Democratic Republic of Congo. Even though it was a cargo plane, the death toll was approximated to be 348 people on the ground with another 500 people injured.

Air Africa Crash (1996)

The plane was overloaded with military equipment and did not reach take off speed. However, it still managed to take off only to crash in a nearby market exploding to become the deadliest airline accident in history. Perhaps, man learned a lesson or two from this accident or perhaps we did not learn anything!


4. Japan’s Airline Flight 123 (1985)

This crash almost became the deadliest plane crash in history. The crash which took place in Ueno, Japan happened at a time the plane was packed to capacity with passengers. After 12 minutes of flight, the rear bulkhead failed tearing off the plane’s rudder in the process. The four hydraulic systems of the plane also failed and the pilot lost control of the plane.

Japan's Airline Flight 123 (1985)

The pilots tried to take the plane to safety but to no avail. When the plane finally crashed, it killed with it 520 people. Only four people survived. It was later discovered that the plane crashed due to poor repairs that had been performed seven years back on a tail that had once scratched.


3. Turkish Airlines Flight 981 (1974)

In this crash, there were no survivors. The flight was from Paris to London. En-route, an explosion was heard and the cargo hatch blew off. Air rushed into the plane. The controls jammed and in less than two minutes, the plane had crashed in a forest leaving 72 passengers dead.

Turkish Airlines Flight 981 (974)


2. Charkhi Dadri collision (1996)

Taking place in 1996, this collision between two planes makes it to the world’s worst plane disasters even though it would have been prevented.  At this time, a Kazakhstan airlines plane was getting ready to land in Delhi airport India. However, the cockpit crew had no knowledge of English and relied on a translator. At the same time, a Saudi Arabian airline Boeing 747 was also taking off from the same airport. The translator failed to relay the message in time for the former plane to fly at lower altitudes of 4,300 feet.

Charkhi Dadri collision (1996)

The result was a deadly collision that saw 349 people lose their lives. Had the translator relayed the right message on time, those who died on this accident would probably still be alive today.


1. Tenerife Disaster (1977)

No airplane disaster matches this disaster. It holds the record as the deadliest airline accident in human history. It is so fortunate that history rarely repeats itself! The crash occurred at Tenerife Airpot in Canary Islands.  It involved two a KLM Boeing airplane and a Pam Air airplane that attempted to take off at the same time. This planes could not see each other due to foggy weather and the KLM had not been cleared for take off. As a result, when they finally saw each other, it was too late the KLM attempted to fly over Pam Am but it was heavy with fuel.

Tenerife Crash

At the end of the day, 583 people were killed while only 61 from Pam Am survived the crash.



  • http://www.interesting6.com/ Michael Six

    Very sad. I am glad there have been no major disasters in my lifetime…

    • J Paul Monquarter

      How old are you 15?

  • Jessica

    So scary! I know the chances of these happening are very low but I still get a little nervous every time I travel.

    • Nj Heartbreaker

      Don’t worry there is no one gonna live forever ^_^

      Next time when you fly just enjoy the Flight ………

      • hat

        Yes, but its the worst way to die. i would rather die at sea.

  • Geofrey Bett

    Very sad and horrible experiences,we pray that such accidents do not happen again in our lifetime.

  • MD Golam Rabbani

    Very tragic incidents. The sufferings are unbearable
    aftermath as well in point of view of their relatives & closet one. Though
    the rates of plane accidents are very rate still we don’t want even a single
    accident in near future. May God save us from such disaster!

  • Kristen Trott

    It’s hard to imagine being in a plane crash. It’s even harder to imagine surviving it. So many people travel with family members and loved ones. How is there a way to cope with people one that survived and having a loved one die right next to you? How many people died in the Hindenburg? Wonder if that one could have made the list.

  • regular longhaul air traveller

    The Tenerife air crash was down to the Dutch pilots arrogance – no-one who valued his career dared to question Captain Van Zandt, such was the culture among KLM crews.

  • regular longhaul air traveller

    In over 30 years as an expat engineer, I have been in a number of air incidents, from engine failures at VI, to a fire alarm aborted take-off, to an engine exploding in flight, to a bird stike that took out the cockpit windows and the planes radar, burst tyres on landing, and an attempt to land a 7474 on the perimeter track – I am still here – but my wife refuses to fly with me, wonder why.

  • liz soliven

    This is what Ive always fear

  • Sakil Hossen

    Very deadly airline accidents these are indeed!! It’s complete surprising to see when an airplane crashes survival chance of the passengers and crews becomes very low. I hope these historic accidents never repeats again.