Navigation Bar
Navigation Bar

  Air Disasters
World's Worst Air Disasters

The following is a list of the world's worst aviation disasters from Reuters news service, ranked by number killed:

583 — March 27, 1977 — Two Boeing 747 airliners, belonging to KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Pan American, collide and burst into flames on the runway at Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Of the total of 644 on board both aircraft, 583 are killed.

520 — August 12, 1985 — A Japan Air Lines Boeing 747 crashes into Mount Osutaka, killing all but four of those on board.

350 — January 8, 1996 — At least 350 people die when a Russian-built Antonov-32 cargo plane crashes into a crowded market in the center of the Zairean capital, Kinshasa.

349 — November 12, 1996 — A Saudi Arabian jumbo jet and a Kazakh Airlines cargo Ilyushin Il-76 collide in mid-air over India. There are 312 people aboard the Saudi Arabian Airlines Boeing 747 and 27 passengers, including two children and 10 crew members on the Ilyushin. This is the worst disaster involving two aircraft in flight. All aboard are killed.

346 — March 3, 1974 — A Turkish Airlines DC-10 crashes into a forest northeast of Paris shortly after takeoff from Orly Airport. All aboard are killed.

329 — June 23, 1985 — An Air India Boeing 747 plunges into the sea off the Irish coast, apparently following an explosion. All on board are killed.

301 — August 19, 1980 — A Saudi Arabian Airlines L-1011 Lockheed TriStar catches fire at Riyadh airport shortly before takeoff. All on board are killed.

290 — July 3, 1988 — An Iran Air A-300 Airbus is shot down over the Persian Gulf by the U.S. warship Vincennes, which wrongly identified the airliner as an attacking fighter. All 290 people on board are killed.

273 — May 25, 1979 — An American Airlines DC-10 crashes after takeoff from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. All 271 aboard and two men on the ground are killed.

270 — December 21, 1988 — A Pan American World Airways Boeing 747, en route to the United States, is blown up by a bomb and crashes on the town of Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 people aboard. Eleven people in the town of Lockerbie are also killed.

269 — September 1, 1983 — A Korean Air Lines 747 is shot down by a Soviet fighter after flying through Soviet airspace near Sakhalin Island. All on board are killed.

264 — April 26, 1994 — A China Airlines Airbus with 271 on board crashes and explodes while coming in to land at Nagoya in Japan; 264 people die.

261 — July 11, 1991 — A chartered Canadian DC-8 crashes during an emergency landing at Jeddah, which it had left minutes earlier on a flight taking Nigerian pilgrims home from Mecca.

257 — November 28, 1979 — An Air Zealand DC-10 on a flight from Auckland to the South Pole hits Mount Erebus in Antarctica. All on board are killed.

256 — December 12, 1985 — An Arrow Air DC-8 chartered by the U.S. military to bring soldiers home for Christmas crashes after takeoff from a refueling stop in Gander, Newfoundland. All on board are killed.

234 — September 26, 1997 — An Indonesian Airbus A-300-B4 crashes in northern Sumatra, in a mountainous area south of Medan. All 222 passengers, 10 cabin crew and the pilot and co-pilot are killed. This is Indonesia's worst air crash.

230 — July 17, 1996 — A Paris-bound TWA Boeing 747 apparently breaks in two and bursts into flames before crashing into the Atlantic nine miles (14 km) south of Moriches Inlet on Long Island, about 70 miles (112 km) east of New York. All on board are killed.

229 — September 2, 1998 — A Swissair MD-11 aircraft on a flight from New York to Geneva crashes into the Atlantic off Nova Scotia killing all on board. There are 215 passengers and 14 crew.

228 — August 6, 1997 — Korean Air Lines flight 801 carrying 254 people from Seoul crashes into a hilly area near Guam's airport. Twenty-six people survive.

223 — May 26, 1991 — An Austrian Lauda-Air Boeing 767-300 bound for Vienna from Hong Kong explodes in mid-air after a stopover in Bangkok and crashes in jungle, killing all on board.

213 — January 1, 1978 — An Air India B-747 explodes in mid-air and plunges into the Arabian Sea shortly after taking off from Bombay's Santa Cruz airport. All 190 passengers and 23 crew are killed.

203 — February 16, 1998 — A China Airlines Airbus crashes and disintegrates at Taipei's international airport killing 203. En route from Bali, Indonesia, all of the 196 passengers and crew are killed, including Taiwan's central bank governor Sheu Yuan-dong, as well as seven people on the ground.

© Copyright 1998 Reuters

Back to the top

Navigation Bar
Navigation Bar
yellow pages