What is the deadliest plane crash in history?
The annals of aviation bear witness to some of the most harrowing and catastrophic incidents in the history of air travel. Despite remarkable advancements in technology and aerospace engineering, the perilous nature of flying is evident. A retrospective examination of the most notorious aviation tragedies serves as a stark reminder of the grave consequences that can unfold, often stemming from avoidable errors.
The fifth installment on this distressing list features the ill-fated Air India Flight 182
The flight, operating on a route encompassing Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, London, and Delhi, met a tragic demise on June 23rd, 1985. Cruising at an altitude of 31,000 feet (9,400 m), the Boeing 747-237B aircraft was obliterated by a bomb detonation within Irish airspace, hurtling the plane into the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. This cataclysmic event marked the first-ever bombing of a 747 jumbo jet. The devastating aftermath claimed the lives of 329 individuals, including 268 Canadian citizens, 27 British citizens, and 24 Indian citizens. It remains etched in history as Canada's deadliest act of mass murder and held the ignominious distinction of being the deadliest terrorist attack involving an airplane until the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Furthermore, it still holds the grim title of the deadliest aircraft bombing.
Turkish Airlines Flight 981 takes the fourth spot on this somber register
On March 3rd, 1974, this flight, which regularly shuttled passengers between Istanbul Yesilköy Airport, London Heathrow Airport, and Paris Orly Airport, met with a heart-wrenching disaster. The McDonnell Douglas DC-10 aircraft plummeted into the Ermenonville forest just outside Paris, leaving no survivors among the 346 individuals on board. This catastrophic incident claimed the ignoble distinction of being the most catastrophic plane crash in the history of aviation at the time. Presently, it remains firmly rooted as the fourth deadliest plane crash ever recorded, the second deadliest with no survivors, the deadliest single-plane crash with no survivors, and the second most severe aviation accident to have occurred in Europe .
In the airspace near Charkhi Dadri, northern India
In a chilling episode, the third entry on this tragic list features the world's deadliest mid-air aviation collision. The collision unfolded over the city of Charkhi Dadri in northern India and involved Saudi Flight 763 and Kazakhstan Airlines Flight 1907. On November 12, 1996, both flights were en route to their respective destinations of Dhahran and Indira. Despite having clearance to descend to 15,000 feet, the Kazakhstan flight descended to 14,000 feet, tragically bringing the two aircraft into a perilously close proximity. The air traffic controller failed to detect their impending collision in time, leading to a mid-air crash. The tail of the Kazakhstan plane cleaved through the wing of the Saudi plane, causing it to spiral uncontrollably and resulting in the deaths of 312 people on board. The Kazakhstan aircraft, caught in an uncontrolled descent, claimed the lives of all 37 individuals on board. This devastating mid-air collision inflicted a total of 349 fatalities.
Claiming the second position on this list is the calamitous Japan Airlines Flight 123 incident
On August 12, 1985, the second deadliest aviation accident in history unfolded as Flight 123 lost control and crashed into a mountainside. Departing from Haneda Airport in Tokyo en route to Osaka, the flight encountered a catastrophic rupture of the aft pressure bulkhead, which had been previously repaired by the airline. The rupture occurred at an altitude of 24,000 feet, causing a rapid decompression of the cabin. Within minutes, the unpressurized cabin led to the failure of the firewall and the supporting structure of the vertical fin, which detached from the aircraft. All four hydraulic systems rapidly depleted, rendering the aircraft uncontrollable. Approximately 32 minutes after the decompression, the plane hurtled into the mountains at a speed of 340 knots, resulting in the demise of 505 passengers and 15 crew members. A mere four individuals survived the crash, clustered near the severed tail section.