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 – 346 people are killed when a Turkish Airlines (DC-10) crashes in Bois d' Ermenonville, France.

*  March 27, 1977 – A 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 – An 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 – An 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 – The 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 – Twelve 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 – The 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 – A 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 – A TWA Boeing 747 explodes and crashes off the coast of Long Island, New York, killing 230 people.

 *  November 12, 1996 – A 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 – A Korean Airlines Boeing 747 crashes in the Guam jungle, killing 228 people.

*  September 26, 1997 – A 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 – Flying 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 – A 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 – 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.

*  May 25, 2002 – A 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 – Air 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. KAL over Soviet Union

    The KAL flight that got shot down over Soviet airspace a few years ago has to rate. It resulted in the death of Congressman Larry McDonald. His entourage landed safely in South Korea, but his flight didn't make it.
    RIP Congressman Larry McDonald. RIP to Congressman Hale Boggs. (We're still waiting for Cokie Roberts to expose what happened to you) How Congressman McDonald came to be murdered was exposed long ago.

    April 20, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kelly

    Jees. Kinda morbid this is

    April 20, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Marcus Tullius Cicero

    "It is not likely that you will live to see an old age such as mine. For since when has a man who speaks the truth [to Caesar] been permitted to live."
    "What is truth?"-Caesar

    April 20, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • High Hopes

      I'm not afraid to die, especially, for truth.

      Question for you, Oh Mighty One, actually two:

      1) What do you suppose is going to happen
      when the last of His prophets are gone?

      2) You SPEAK of truth, but know not what
      it is? Your thoughts are with your father and
      not with me. Lawless one, who is the father
      of the lie? Run fast, that you might be with
      him, for you are mere dust; and have come to
      love death. I am alive and fear not the
      birds that fly by day or the plight of men
      who seek to destroy me. The truth is my

      Ephesians 6

      April 20, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Philip

    A.) God's only children now living will never die. These are the ones who survive the coming Great Tribulation just as John of Patmos said. Satan's offspring mebtioned by Jesus? Yeah, they all die at God's war Armageddon And B.) Truth is truth. And truth girds the loins...it is faith that is the shield of the Christian suit of Armor, as spoken of by Paul at Ephesians 6:14-20. And without that 'breastplate of righteousness' Paul mentioned, lies we hear and see would seep down into our hearts and motivate us to badness, as is clearly visible today.

    April 20, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Philip

    @ pope. Nope. Organized religion will be outlawed world-wide. Nations going to war against other nations will end. No longet will there be a need for churches to fly national flags and preach "God&Country". But yeah, organized religions will be the last obstacle to Peace that finally gets removed. Crushed, actually. Ripped to shreds and thouroughly exposed for ALL to see.

    April 20, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. invetero meat

    @Philip, a new age of abundance and awareness will certainly dawn. Heartbreaking as it may be to true believers the coming Renaissance will have nothing to do with age old fairy tales.

    April 20, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. High Hopes


    Truth is my sword. On an earlier post I said grid your loins and seize your SWORD.

    At any rate it is not before the number is sealed in heaven that all these things will come to pass.

    My question to Cicero was as stated in #1. I would appreciate you let him answer for himself, as this Grandfather, wise as he is, is fully capable of answering mine as I have answered his.


    April 20, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©

    Pass the popcorn.

    April 20, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. High Hopes


    Grandfather who has a real knack for making fun of children, has not a clue what truth is. He is sure to run, even if it means into the arms of the Devil, himself. Hang around, they are sure to return.... shaking and weak in the knees.


    April 20, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Hello, Hope.

      You were missed.
      Your name was stolen in the time you were gone.
      We were not fooled.


      April 20, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Philip

    @High Hopes. Who else but myself EVER quotes Cicero here? Hello? Niow, yes. There are but 144,000 humans who actually do go to heaven and rule as members of God's Kingdom Government over mankind during the also phrophecied 1000 year reign of Christ as King. The TRUE hope as layed-out in God's word the bible is this; everlasting life on earth ruled by individuals like Jesus rather than [insert favorite world leader]. Yep. 'Tis true.

    April 20, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • High Hopes


      I agree. But did you detect a threat in what was said, or was it my imagination?

      April 20, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. BOMBO ©

    Airplane fall down. Go boom.

    April 20, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. disappeared comments

    Awe come on.

    April 20, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. High Hopes

    Figures... the name stealing. And, thanks for missing me. I missed you, too.


    Seems things have calmed down.

    April 20, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Ah, but dear Hope, the weekend is here...it will get worse; the little tykes are out of school.

      It was bad for a while.

      April 20, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • High Hopes

      I won't be around most the weekend.


      Lucky me!

      April 20, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Safe journey, wherever you go!


      April 20, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Philip

    ...remember? The Our Father prayer said a billion times a day? Where people pray for God's Kingdom to "come", not "go"? For his will to be "done" on earth, not "undone" and abandoned. (with people burning in a mythical "hell" even. sheesh. how rediculous is the freaking hellfire doctine)

    April 20, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Philip

    How many thinking humans since the 4th century have totally rejected the idea of there being a one true God thanks to the teaching of hellfire. Huh? How many millions, billions?

    April 20, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
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