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The Most Recent Fatal Airline Events

Author / Coordinator:  
Minnesota
May 2006


The following are the most recent fatal airliner mishaps, listed with the most recent event first, from around the world. In each event, at least one passenger was killed. These events include all jet passenger flights and turboprop accidents involving models with more than 10 passengers seats and which are used in airline service in North America and western Europe. These events include passenger fatalities due to hijackings, sabotage, or military action. Some non-airline fatal events are included, but only fatal airline events are numbered.

3 May 2006; Armavia Airlines A320; near Sochi, Russia: The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from Yerevan, Russia to Sochi. At the time of the crash, visibility was limited due to darkness, a low overcast cloud layer, and light rain showers. The crew reportedly abandoned the first landing attempt due to the weather conditions. While the crew was maneuvering for a second landing attempt on a different runway, the aircraft crashed into the Black Sea about 6 km (3.8 miles) from the airport. All eight crew members and 105 passengers were killed.
 
19 December 2005; Chalk's Ocean Airways Grumman G-73T Mallard; Miami, FL: The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from Miami to the island of Bimini in the Bahamas. Shortly after takeoff, the aircraft experienced an apparent structural failure that resulted in the right wing separating from the aircraft. The aircraft crashed into Biscayne Bay just off Miami Beach. Both crew members and all 18 passengers, including three infants,were killed.

10 December 2005; Sosoliso Airlines DC9-32; Port Harcourt, Nigeria: The aircraft was on a domestic flight from Abuja to Port Harcourt. During the landing, the aircraft departed the runway, broke up, and caught fire. All seven crew members and 103 of the 107 passengers were killed.
 
8 December 2005; Southwest Airlines 737-700; Chicago, IL: The aircraft was on a scheduled flight from Baltimore to Chicago's Midway Airport. After landing, the crew was unable to stop the aircraft on the runway, going off the runway, through the airport's barrier fence and onto a nearby street. At some point during this event, the nose wheel collapsed. The aircraft struck at least two vehicles, with the impact causing fatal injuries to a six year old boy who was a passenger in one of the vehicles. None of the five crew members or 95 passengers were seriously injured. This was the first serious accident involving the 737-700. Because this event did not cause a passenger fatality, it is not counted as a fatal event as defined by AirSafe.com.

7 December 2005; American Airlines 757; Miami, Fl: The aircraft had arrived from Medellin, Colombia, and was on a roughly two hour stopover in Miami before continuing to Orlando. It is alleged that one of the passengers, a 44-year old U.S. citizen, claimed to have a bomb in his carry on luggage. Air marshals confronted the man on the jetway and shot him after he appeared to reach into his bag. The man died sometime later as a result of his wounds. No explosive was found in the bag. It was reported that this passenger had previously arrived in Miami on an American flight from Quito, Ecuador and had cleared U.S. customs before boarding the Orlando flight. No one else was injured in this event. This is the first time sine 9/11 that air marshals have fired a weapon on or near an aircraft. Because this passenger death was due at least in part to the deliberate actions of that passenger, this does not constitute a fatal event as defined by AirSafe.com.
 
22 October 2005; Bellview Airlines 737-200; near Lissa, Nigeria: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Lagos to Abuja and air traffic control lost contact with the aircraft about five minutes after takeoff. The aircraft crashed about 30 miles (48 km) from Lagos near the town of Lissa. All six crew members and 111 passengers were killed.
 
21 September 2005; JetBlue Airways A320-200; Los Angeles, CA: Shortly after takeoff on a domestic scheduled flight from Burbank, CA to New York, the crew became aware of a problem with the front landing gear. The wheels on the landing gear were locked in an incorrect position, leading the crew to divert to Los Angeles for an emergency landing. The landing, broadcast live by CNN and many other television networks, was visually spectacular but did not result in any serious damage to the aircraft. There were no injuries among the 140 passengers and six crew members.

This event was not considered an accident by either the FAA or NTSB and is in fact an airliner landing on a malfunctioning landing gear occurs several times a year around the world. This event was considered to be a significant event by AirSafe.com because of the extraordinary media attention paid to the event both during the emergency and in the days following. One reason for the interest was the fact that many of the passengers were able to view live images of their aircraft until shortly before landing. 

8 September 2005; Saudi Arabian Airlines 747-300; Colombo, Sri Lanka: While taxiing for takeoff on an international flight from Colombo to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, air traffic controllers received an anonymous telephone call concerning a possible bomb on the aircraft. The crew was informed about this call and elected to perform an emergency evacuation. As a result of the evacuation, there were 62 injuries among the 430 passengers and 22 crew members. One of the passengers died as a result of injuries received during the evacuation, and 19 passengers were hospitalized. No explosive devices were found after a search of the aircraft.
 
5 September 2005; Mandala Airlines 737-200; Medan, Indonesia: The aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff, hitting several houses in a residential area about half a kilometer from the runway. The aircraft was on a domestic flight from Medan to Jakarta. All five crew members and 97 of the 112 passengers were killed. About 47 people on the ground were also killed.
 
23 August 2005; Transportes Aéreos Nacionales de la Selva (TANS) 737-200; Pulcallpa, Peru: The aircraft was on a domestic flight from Lima to Pulcallpa when the aircraft encountered severe weather conditions. The aircraft caught fire after crashing and breaking up in a swampy area about three miles (4.8 km) from the Pulcallpa airport.shortly after takeoff, hitting several houses in a residential area about half a kilometer from the runway. Four of the six crew members and 35 of the 92 passengers were killed.
 
16 August 2005; West Caribbean Airways MD82; near Machiques, Venezuela: The aircraft was on an international flight from Panama City, Panama to Martinique when the crew reported to air traffic control that the aircraft was experiencing some kind of engine problem and requested a descent from cruising altitude of 33,000 feet down to 14,000 feet. The crew later reported that both engines were experiencing problems and that the aircraft was not controllable. All eight crew members and 152 passengers were killed.

14 August 2005; Helios Airways 737-300; Grammatikos, Greece: The aircraft was on an international flight from Larnaca, Cyprus to Athens, Greece. Air traffic control lost contact with the airliner shortly after the crew reported an air conditioning problem. Greek F-16 aircraft were sent to intercept the airliner and reportedly observed at least one person who was not a flight crew member inside of the cockpit. The first officer appeared to be unconscious and the captain was not seen in the cockpit. The aircraft appeared to have run out of fuel and crashed in a mountainous area about 25 miles (40 km) from Athens. All six crew members and 115 passengers were killed.

6 August 2005; Tuninter ATR72; near Palermo, Italy: The aircraft was on an unscheduled international flight from Bari, Italy to Djerba, Tunisia when the aircraft reportedly developed engine trouble. The crew ditched the aircraft off the coast of Palermo. The aircraft had been on a scheduled domestic flight from Kish Island in the Persian Gulf. Two of the four crew members and 14 of the 35 passengers were killed.
 
2 August 2005; Air France A340-300; Toronto, Canada: The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from Paris to Toronto. The aircraft encountered heavy thunderstorms upon arrival in Toronto. The crew was able to land, but was unable to stop the aircraft on the runway. The aircraft departed the runway and rolled into a gully where the aircraft broke up and caught fire. All passengers and crew were able to successfully escape the burning plane. None of the 12 crew members and or 297 passengers were killed. This is not a fatal event since no passengers were killed.
 
7 May 2005; Aero-Tropics Air Services Metroliner III; near Lockhart River, Australia: The aircraft was scheduled domestic flight from Bamaga, Queensland when it crashed into a ridge about 6.2 miles (10 km) from its destination, the Iron Range airport near Lockhart River, Queensland. The aircraft impacted about 100 feet (30m) below the top of the roughly 1300 foot (400m) ridge. Air traffic control procedures for that area dictated that the aircraft should have been flying between 2860 feet (872m) and 2115 feet (645m) and observing a minimum safe altitude of 2060 feet (628m). At the time, the cloud ceiling in the area was estimated to be about 900 feet (275m). Both crew members and all 13 passengers were killed.
 
20 April 2005; Saha Air 707-300; near Tehran, Iran: The aircraft departed the runway, slid into the nearby Kan river, and caught fire after landing. The aircraft had been on a scheduled domestic flight from Kish Island in the Persian Gulf. The runway departure was due to problems with the aircraft’s landing gear. None of the 12 crew members were killed, but three of the 157 passengers were reportedly killed after they fell into the river during the evacuation.
 
18 March 2005; American Airlines 767; en route from Los Angeles to New York JFK: The aircraft was on a scheduled flight from Los Angeles to JFK airport in New York when a passenger allegedly assaulted a flight attendant. The 48 year old passenger was then restrained by the cabin crew using flexible handcuffs. Reportedly, seven passengers also helped to restrain the passenger during the latter stages of the flight. At some point, the passenger had difficulty breathing. After landing at JFK, the unconscious passenger was then taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. The New York City medical examiner's office later ruled the death an accident that was caused by acute cocaine and alcohol intoxication, which was aggravated by heart trouble. No other crew members or passengers were seriously injured or killed. Because this passenger death was due at least in part to the deliberate actions of that passenger, this does not constitute a fatal event as defined by AirSafe.com.

3 February 2005; Kam Air 737-200; near Kabul, Afghanistan: The aircraft crashed in mountainous terrain about 20 miles (32 km) from its destination. The aircraft was scheduled domestic flight from Herat to Kabul and was diverted from landing at Kabul due to the effects of a severe snowstorm. The crew had sought clearance to land in Peshawar, Pakistan prior to losing contact with air traffic control. All eight crew members and 96 passengers were killed.
 
30 November 2004; LionAir MD82; Solo, Indonesia: The aircraft skidded off the runway on landing after a flight from Jakarta. The aircraft broke up and came to rest about 100 meters from the runway. There was heavy rain in the area at the time of the accident. There were 26 fatalities among the seven crew members and 146 passengers.
 
28 November 2004; Canadair Challenger; Montrose, CO : The aircraft was on an unscheduled domestic flight from Montrose, CO to South Bend, IN. The aircraft crashed during takeoff, reportedly skidded sideways off the runway, going through a fence before hitting a roadway and catching fire. The force of the crash separated the cockpit from the rest of the fuselage. There was light snow and mist reported at the time of the accident. Two of the three crew members and one of the three passengers passengers were killed

Dick Ebersol, president of NBC Sports and the husband of actress Susan Saint James, was seriously injured in the crash. Among the fatalities was the couple's 14-year old son. Reportedly at the time of the crash, misty rain and sleet were falling after a snowstorm and the runway had about a quarter inch of ice and slush. Prior to the fatal flight, the pilot had reportedly declined to have the plane deiced. On the previous leg of the flight, the aircraft had transported Ebersol, Saint James, and two of their children from California to Montrose, CO. Saint James had left the aircraft at Montrose.
 
21 November 2004; China Yunnan Airlines (China Eastern) CRJ-200; Baotou, China: The aircraft crashed shortly after taking off on a scheduled domestic flight from Baotou to Shanghai. According to witnesses, the aircraft caught fire and suffered in in-flight breakup before crashing into a frozen lake about two kilometers (1.3 miles) from the runway. The six crew members and 47 passengers were all killed in the crash. Two people on the ground were also killed.
 
18 November 2004; Rutas Aereas Venezolanas (RAVSA) BAe Jetstream 31; Caracas, Venezuela: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from El Vigia to Caracas and crashed after landing during heavy rain at the Caracas airport. After landing, the aircraft departed the runway and crashed into the airport fire department headquarters and caught fire. That fire was quickly put out by the fire fighters in the building. Both crew members survived, but four of the 19 passengers were killed.

19 October 2004; AmericanConnection (Corporate Airlines) BAe Jetstream 32; near Kirksville, MO: The aircraft was on a scheduled flight from St. Louis to Kirksville when it crashed about four miles (6.4 km) south of the destination airport. According to the National Weather Service, visibility was about four miles at the time of the crash, with low clouds created a 300-foot ceiling. Both crew members and 11 of the 13 passengers were killed.
 
24 August 2004; Volga-Aviaexpress Tupolev 134A; near Buchalki, Russia: The aircraft departed Moscow Domodedovo Airport (DME) about 2230 on a scheduled flight to Volgograd in southern Russia. This aircraft took off about 10 minutes before a Sibir Airlines Tupolev 154B which also crashed the same evening after departing the same airport. The aircraft broke up in flight and crashed, about thirty minutes after takeoff and within minutes of the in flight breakup of the Sibir Airlines aircraft. At least one witness reported hearing several explosions at about the time of the breakup. Wreckage from this aircraft was found in the Tula region, near the village of Buchalki, about 125 miles (200 km) from Moscow. Investigators have found traces of explosive residue on both aircraft, and are investigating the possibility that these events were due to sabotage. The two aircraft were separated by about about 500 miles (800 km) at the time of their respective crashes. All seven crew members and 34 passengers were killed.
 
24 August 2004; Sibir Airlines Tupolev 154B; near Rostov-on-Don, Russia: The aircraft departed Moscow Domodedovo Airport (DME) about 2240 on a scheduled flight to Sochi near the Black Sea. This aircraft took off about 10 minutes after a Volga-Aviaexpress Tupolev 134A which also crashed the same evening after departing the same airport. The aircraft broke up in flight and crashed, about 20 minutes after takeoff and within minutes of the in flight breakup of the Volga-Aviaexpress aircraft. According to Sibir Airlines, shortly before the crash, an emergency signal was sent from the aircraft. Wreckage from this aircraft was found near Rostov-on-Don, about 600 miles (960 km) from Moscow. Investigators have found traces of explosive residue on both aircraft, and are investigating the possibility that these events were due to sabotage. All eight crew members and 38 passengers were killed.
 
Note: The last time that two aircraft departing from the same airport on the same day were both involved in a fatal event was 11 September 2001 when an American Airlines 767 and United Airlines 767 were hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center towers.

14 May 2004; Rico Linhas Aéreas Embraer Brasilia; near Manaus, Brazil: The airplane, on a domestic flight from São Paulo de Olivença to Manaus via Tefé, crashed in the tropical jungle near the Rio Negro river while approaching Manaus. All three crew members and 30 passengers were killed.

26 February 2004; Beech King Air 200; near Huskovici, Bosnia-Hercegovina: The Macedonian government aircraft was carrying President Boris Trajkovski to the Bosnian city of Mostar when the aircraft lost contact with air traffic controllers near the border of Bosnia and Montenegro. The aircraft crashed into a hill near the village of Huskovici and caught fire. There was fog and rain in the area at the time of the crash. This village is 12 miles (20 km) south of the city of Mostar. All seven passengers and both crew members were killed. This was not a regular airline flight and will not count toward AirSafe.com fatal event rates.

10 February 2004; Kish Airlines Fokker F50; near Sharjah, United Arab Emirates: The aircraft crashed shortly before landing on a flight from the island of Kish, Iran to Sharjah. Reportedly, the aircraft dived to the ground shortly after the crew requested an emergency landing. The aircraft crashed and caught fire about two miles (three km) from the airport. Of the six crew members and 40 passengers on board, 43 were killed.
 
13 January 2004; Uzbekistan Airways Yak-42, Tashkent, Uzbekistan: The aircraft was on a domestic flight from Termez to Tashkent and crashed during final approach. There was heavy fog in the area of the airport at the time of the crash. All five crew members and 32 passengers were killed, including the senior United Nations representative in Uzbekistan.
 
3 January 2004; Flash Airlines 737-300; near Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt: The aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff on a domestic flight to Cairo and crashed into the Red Sea about nine miles (15 km) south of the city. All 135 passengers and 13 crew members were killed. Flash Airlines is a charter operator based in Egypt.