History's deadliest plane crashes
Rescue workers search through debris Friday following the crash of a Bhoja Air Boeing 737 plane in the outskirts of Islamabad.
April 20th, 2012
05:23 PM ET

History's deadliest plane crashes

At least 121 people were killed Friday when a Bhoja Air Boeing 737-200 crashed in Islamabad, Pakistan, according to officials. Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority has cited poor weather as a possible factor.

The following is a chronological list of commercial plane crashes with more than 200 fatalities. The list does not include crashes resulting from terrorist or military action.

*  March 3, 1974 Р346 people are killed when a Turkish Airlines (DC-10) crashes in Bois d' Ermenonville, France.

*  March 27, 1977 РA KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 747 crashes into a Pan American World Airways Boeing 747 at the Los Rodeos Airport at Tenerife in the Canary Islands, killing 574 people (326 passengers on the Pan American airplane and all 234 passengers plus 14 crew members on the KLM plane). The accident occurs when the KLM airplane begins its takeoff while the Pan American airplane is still on the runway.

*  May 25, 1979 РAn American Airlines DC-10 crashes after takeoff from Chicago O'Hare International Airport, killing 275 on board and three on the ground. During takeoff, an engine on the left wing falls off; the FAA later faults American Airline maintenance techniques for the crash.

*  November 28, 1979 РAn Air New Zealand DC -10 crashes into Mt. Erebus in Antarctica, killing 257 people. The crash is believed to be the result of a navigational error.

*  August 12, 1985 РThe largest number of deaths in a single commercial airplane crash occurs when a Japan Air Lines Boeing 747 crashes into Mt. Ogura in Japan, killing 520 people.

*  May 26, 1991 РTwelve minutes after takeoff, Lauda Air Boeing 767 Flight 004, stalls in midair and crashes 70 miles northwest of Bangkok, Thailand. All 223 passengers and crew are killed.

 *  July 11, 1991 РThe landing gear of a Nigerian Airways DC-8 catches on fire shortly after takeoff and upon return to the airport, the plane crashes, killing all 261 people on board.

 *  April 26, 1994 РA China Airlines Airbus A300 crashes on approach to Nagoya Airport, Japan, killing 264 people.  Just before the crash, the pilot informs the control tower that he intends to abort the landing and try another approach.

 *  July 17, 1996 РA TWA Boeing 747 explodes and crashes off the coast of Long Island, New York, killing 230 people.

 *  November 12, 1996 РA Saudi Arabian Airlines 747 and a Kazakhstan Airlines II-76 collide at the New Delhi, India airport. All 349 people on both airplanes are killed.

*  August 6, 1997 РA Korean Airlines Boeing 747 crashes in the Guam jungle, killing 228 people.

*  September 26, 1997 РA Garuda Indonesia Airlines Airbus A300 crashes in Buah Nabar, Indonesia, killing 234 people.  A National Transportation Safety Board report from 2000 states an electrical short circuit that ignited vapors in the fuel tank is the most likely cause of the crash.

 *  February 16, 1998 РFlying through rain and fog, a China Airlines Airbus 676 makes a request for another landing approach at Taipei International Airport in Taiwan. In the process of turning around, the aircraft crashes into a neighborhood, killing all 196 on board and another seven on the ground.

*  September 2, 1998 РA Swissair MD-11 crashes off Nova Scotia, Canada, killing 229.  Investigators believe the plane lost all electrical power immediately before the crash.

*  November 12, 2001 РAn American Airlines Airbus A300 crashes in Belle Harbor, Queens, shortly after takeoff from JFK Airport, killing 265 people, including five on the ground. This is the largest number of fatalities from an accident involving a U.S. carrier.

*  May 25, 2002 РA China Airlines Boeing 747 crashes into the Taiwan Strait 20 minutes after takeoff, killing all 225 on board. The crash is later attributed to metal fatigue and cracks throughout the aircraft.

 *  June 1, 2009 РAir France Flight 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris carrying 228 passengers and crew is lost over the Atlantic. The first bodies are recovered on June 6, approximately 600 miles off the northern coast of Brazil. The flight data recorder is recovered May 1, 2011, 12,800 ft (3,900 meters) underwater, by the BEA, the French air accident investigation agency. On May 27, 2011, the BEA announces that equipment malfunction (faulty speed regulators) was the cause of the crash.

Sources: The World Almanac 2008; Plane Crash Info; Landings.com

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Filed under: Air travel • Travel
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. krm1007

    May the departed souls rest in peace. Amen.

    April 23, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Todd

    November 12, 2001 ‚Äď An American Airlines Airbus A300 crashes in Belle Harbor, Queens, shortly after takeoff from JFK Airport, killing 265 people, including five on the ground. This is the largest number of fatalities from an accident involving a U.S. carrier.

    This is not true. The crash of American Airlines Flight 191 on May 25th, 1979 in Chicago took the lives of 278.

    May 18, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fu Fighter

      Pan American World Airways, commonly known as Pan Am, was the principal and largest international air carrier in the United States from 1927 until its collapse on December 4, 1991. This said then, would make the 1977 Tenerife accident resulting in the death of 326 passengers aboard that US carrier aircraft... "the largest number of fatalities aboard a US carrier."

      July 5, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. foo monkey

    September 11, 2001.

    July 5, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      "The list does not include crashes resulting from terrorist or military action."

      July 5, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shmeckell

      How does that not make the list?

      July 5, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. CMD

    Because terrorist or military action is DELIBERATE and PLANNED. Accidents are just that - accidents. Human error, metal fatigue, bad weather, whatever... Not the same as the deliberate crashing of planes on 9/11 or the Soviet shootdown of KAL 007 in Sep 1983, the bombing of Pan Am 103, etc etc etc.

    July 5, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John

    Why the hell is this list in the present tense???

    July 5, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Akkqwer

    The aircraft involved in the China Airlines crash in 1998 was an Airbus 320 – not 676 which was the flight number.

    July 8, 2012 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
  7. PeyP

    @CMD, .... or Iran Air Flight 655, a civilian Airbus A300B2-203 jet airliner, that was shot down by U.S. missiles from USS Vincennes (CG-49) on 3 July 1988 over the Persian Gulf that killed all 290 onboard including 66 children and 16 crew.

    July 12, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Veronica Sanchez

    Does anyone remember the Jet Blue airliner that went down in the Florida Everglades sometime in the 90's? I remember that being on the news, but it didn't make the list.

    March 11, 2014 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  9. shobuj//power love

    Thanks for shearing this post

    March 22, 2014 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
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