Air Disasters and Notable Crashes

1785: On June 15, Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier and a companion become hot-air ballooning’s first fatalities, after falling to their deaths when their hybrid hot-air-and-hydrogen balloon ignites over the English Channel. 1908: On September 17, during a demonstration flight for the U.S. Army, Orville Wright’s plane crashes near Fort Myer, Virginia. Wright suffers several brokenbones and Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge is killed; he becomes the first person to die in an airplane accident.
1910: On January 4, French aviation pioneer Leon Delagrange, who piloted the first passenger flight in January, 1908, is killed when the port wing of his Bleriot XI collapses. 1910: On July 12, Sir Charles Rolls, cofounder of Rolls-Royce, dies when his French-built Wright biplane collapses during a landing competition at Bournemouth Aviation Week. 1912: On July 1, pioneering American female aviator Harriet Quimby and a friend die when their Bleriot falls out of the sky during an air show over Dorchester Bay, south of Boston. Quimby had been the first woman to fly solo across the English Channel.
1913: On August 7, American aviator Samuel Franklin Cody and his passenger die in a crash at Ball Hill near Newbury, Berkshire, England. Cody had made the first registered flight in Great Britain in October, 1908.
1918: On April 21, World War I flying ace Manfred von Richtofen, known as the Red Baron, is killed in action when his Fokker triplane is shot down by Canadian Roy Brown near Morlancourt Ridge. The Red Baron had been responsible for 80 kills in less than two years.
1921: On June 5, pioneering American female aviator Laura Bromwell dies in Garden City, New York, when she loses control of her airplane and crashes from more than 1,000 feet in the air. A month earlier, she had set a new world’s record by looping-the-loop 199 times at speeds up to 135 miles per hour.
1923: On December 21, the French airship Dixmude explodes in flight during a thunderstorm, killing 50 crew members.
1925: OnSeptember3,the USS Shenandoah airship breaks apart in a thunderstorm, killing 14ofthe43 crewmembers.
1928: On May 1, U.S. representative Thaddeus Sweet of New York is killed in a private plane crash near Whitney Point, New York.
1928: OnMay 25, Italian explorer Umberto Nobile crashes shortly after crossing the NorthPole inhis airship, Italia. 1928: On June 22, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen is lost at sea in the Arctic Ocean while attempting to fly a rescue mission to the Italia.
1929: On December 20, U.S. representative William Kaynor of Massachusetts is killed in a private plane crash near Washington, D.C.
1930: On October 5, the BritishR-101 airship crashes and burns after hitting a hillside during heavy rain near Beauvais, France, while en route to India. Of the 56 passengers and crew, 48 die, including British air minister Lord Thompson and civil aviation director Sir Sefton Branker.
1931: On March 31, Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne is one of 8 killed when a Trans Continental & Western Airways Fokker F10A plane flies into a storm and falls into a wheat field near Bazaar, Kansas.
1931: On May 14, Denys Finch Hatton and a servant are killed when their plane stalls and then crashes in a fiery explosion. Hatton, a professional hunter, was the lover of Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen), the author of Out of Africa (1937).
1933: On April 3, the USS Akron airship is driven into the sea by downdrafts in a storm, killing 73 of the 76 crew members.
1935: On February 12, the fin of the USS Macon is ripped off in storm, and the airship loses buoyancy and crashes at sea,
killing 2 of the 83 crew members. 1935: On August 15, a private plane flown by Wiley Post crashes into the water at Walakpi, near Point Barrow, Alaska,just after takeoff. Post, a noted aviator, and his passenger, the famous cowboy and entertainer Will Rogers, are killed.
1936: On December 7, French aviator JeanMermoz, veteran of twenty-three transatlantic flights including the first from France to South America, is killed along with 5 others when their Latecoere 300 Croix du Sud disappears.
1937: On May 6, the Hindenburg, a hydrogen-filled dirigible, crashes and burns at Lakehurst, New Jersey, killing 36 people.
1937: On July 2, American aviator Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan disappear on the way from Lae, New Guinea, to Howland Island during an around-the-world flight.
1937: On November 16, the Grand Duke andDuchess of Hess are among 11 people killed when a Sabena Junkers JU-52 airplane crashes near Ostende, Belgium. 1
938: On January 11, Captain Edwin Musick, the first pilot for Pan American World Airways (Pan Am), is among 6 people killed when a Pan Am Sikorsky S-42 seaplane explodes when the crew attempts to dump fuel in preparation for an emergency landing in American Samoa.
1938: On August 1, British aircraft designer Frank Barnwell is killed in a plane crash while testing an aeroplane of his own design at the Bristol Civil Airport in England.
1939: On March 18, Boeing’s chief engineer Jack Kylstra and 12 others (including a KLM delegation) are killed when their Boeing 307 Stratoliner production prototype breaks up after failing to recover from a spin near Adler, Washington.
1940: On August 31, U.S. senator Ernest Lundeen of Minnesota and 24 others are killed in the crash of a Pennsylvania Central Douglas DC-3 when lightning hits the plane, disorienting the crew.
1941: On January 5, English aviator Amy Johnson is killed during World War II when her transport plane crashes into the River Thames. In 1930, she flew solo from Great Britain to Australia.
1941: On February 21, Sir Frederick Banting, codiscoverer of insulin, is killed in a plane crash. 1941: On February 27, U.S. representative William Byron of Maryland is killed in a private plane crash near Jonesboro, Georgia.
1941: On November 22, German pilot Werner Molders, the first ace to achieve 100 kills, dies whenaHeinkelHe-111 loses an engine and crashes in bad weather while attempting to landinBreslau-Gandau, Germany. He had been on his way from Crimea to the state funeral of great aerobatic pilot Ernst Udet.
1942: On January 16, actress Carole Lombard, her mother, her press agent, and 19 other people are killed when their Trans Continental & Western DC-3 crashes near Las Vegas as they are returning from a war bond promotion tour.
1942: On March 21, Carl August Freiherr von Gablenz, the founder of Lufthansa Airlines, is killed in an airplane crash. 1942: On August 25, Prince George of Kent is killed in a plane crash during active war service over Caithness, Scotland. 1943: On January 15, Major Eric Mowbray Knight, author of Lassie, Come Home, is one of 35 killed when their Douglas C-54 Skymaster blows up over Dutch Guiana. The plane was on a secret mission to the Casablanca Conference.
1943: On April 18, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the Japanese navy’s commander in chief and architect of the Pearl Har-borinvasion, is killed whenhis Mitsubishi G4M1 is shot down by U.S. Air Force P-38s over Bougainville in the Pacific Ocean.
1943: OnJune 1, British actor Leslie Howardand 16 others are killed when their KLMDC-3 is shot down off the coast of France.
1943: On June 2, Heisman trophy winner Nile Kinnick dies when the motor of his plane failed during a training flight and he had to make an emergency landing off the coast of Venezuela. 1943: On July 4, Wladyslaw Sikorski, Polish prime minister in exile, is killed along with 11 others when their plane crashes into the Mediterranean shortly after taking off from the Gibraltor airport. 1943: On September 21, U.S. representative John William Ditter of Pennsylvania is killed in a private plane crash near Colombia, Pennsylvania.
1944: On April 12, polo player and aviator Tommy Hitchcock dies as he tests a fully fueled, bomb-laden P-51 fighter plane near Salisbury, England. 1944: On July 31, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, French aviator and author of The Little Prince (1943), dies when his P-38
Lightning disappears over the Mediterranean Sea during a reconnaissance mission for the U.S. Air Force.
1944: On August 12, Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., the oldest son of Joseph Kennedy, is killed when his Navy B-24 Liberator plane explodes over the English Channel.
1944: On September 19, Royal Air Force pilot Guy Gibson, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for leading the Dambuster Raid, dies along with his copilot when their Mosquito crashes over Holland.
1944: On November 11, British air chief marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory and his wife Dora are killed when their RAF Avro York airliner crashes in mountains west of Grenoble, France, while en route to India, where he was to lead the Allied air forces in Southeast Asia.
1944: On December 15, trombonist and band leader Glenn Miller and 2 others die when their plane disappears in a fog over the English Channel. Miller was entertaining Allied troops during World War II.
1945: On January 2, British admiral Sir Betram Ramsey is among those who die when a Lockheed Hudson climbs, banks, and dives into the ground on taking off from Toussus-le-Noble en route to Brussels, Belgium.
1945: On July 28, a U.S. Army B-25 twin-engine bomber on a routine flight from Bedford, Massachusetts, to Newark, New Jersey, loses its bearings in heavy fog and plunges into the seventy-ninth floor of the Empire State Building in New York City, killing all 3 people on board the plane and another 11 in the skyscraper.
1945: On August 6, Major Richard IraBong, the leadingU.S. fighterace during World War II, is killed near Los Angeles while test-flying a Lockheed P-80 jet.
1946: On September 27, English aviator Geoffrey de Havilland, chief test pilot and son of the aircraft manufacturer, is killed while attempting to break the soundbarrier. His single-seatDH-108 Swallow swept-wingjet breaks up in midair while in a dive.
1947: On August 23, English aircraft designer Roy Chadwick, Avro’s chief designer responsible for the Lancaster bomber, is killed when his Avro Tudor 2 prototype crashes on takeoff during a test flight.
1947: On October 28, Oregon governor Earl Snell and 3 others are killed in a plane crash in wild terrain east of Klamath Falls, Oregon.
1947: On November 22, French general Philippe Leclerc, who led the Allied force which liberated Paris in August, 1944, is among those killed when a military transport crashes in the Sahara.
1948: On January 29, British air marshal Sir Arthur Cunningham, commander of the Royal Air Force in the Western Desert during World War II, is one of 31 who die when a British South American Airways plane crashes near Bermuda while en route to Havana, Cuba. BSAA’s founder claims that a known wartime saboteur was seen standing near the plane shortly before takeoff.
1948: On May 13, Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy Hartington, JohnF. Kennedy’s sister, is one of ten people killed when their Skyways de Havilland Dove 1 plane crashes in France’s Ardeche mountains during a storm.
1949: On April 20, U.S. representative Robert Coffey of Pennsylvania is killed in the crash of a private plane near Albuquerque, New Mexico.
1949: On May 4,18 members of the Torino soccer team, 6 trainers, 3 journalists, and 3 crew members are killed when their plane hits a wall surrounding the sanctuary of Superga’s Basilica and crashes into a mountain near Turin, Italy.
1949: On November 1, U.S. representative George Bates of Massachusetts and U.S. representative Michael Kennedy of New York are among 56 people killed when a U.S. Air Force P-38 collides with an Eastern Air Lines DC-54B over Arlington, Virginia.
1950: On December 4, Jesse Leroy Brown, the first African American naval aviator, is shot down over Korea.
1952: On January 27, former secretary of war Robert Patterson and 29 others are killed when their airplane hits apartments in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Another 7 people die on the ground.
1953: On June 18, the crash of a U.S. Air Force Globemaster C-124 near Tokyo kills 129 servicemen.
1953: On October 29, American pianist William Kapell dies, along with 18 others, when a British Commonwealth Pacific Airlines Douglas DC-6 crashes as it descended into the San Francisco area.
1956: On June 30, a Trans World Airlines (TWA) Super Constellation and a United Air Lines DC-7 collide over the Grand Canyon, killing 128.
1957: On March 17, Ramon Magsaysay, president of the Philippines, and 2 others die when their airplane crashes into Mt. Manunggal during a campaign trip.
1957: On April 15, popular Mexican singer and actor Pedro Infante dies in a plane crash in Merida, Yucatan while returning to Mexico City. A family is also killed on the ground.
1958: On March 22, Hollywood producer Mike Todd, his biographer Art Cohn, and the pilot and copilot are killed when their Lockheed Lodestar private plane “The Lucky Liz,” named after Todd’s wife actress Elizabeth Taylor, crashes in bad weather in the Zuni Mountains of New Mexico.
1958: On August 14, a KLM Super Constellation crashes into the North Atlantic near Ireland, killing 99 people.
1959: On February 23, a small private plane traveling from Clear Lake, Iowa, to Fargo, NorthDakota, crashes shortly after takeoff, claiming the lives of the pilot and rock-and-roll performers Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. “Big Bopper” Richardson.
1959: On March 29, Barthelemy Boganda, the president and founder of the Central African Republic, dies when his plane explodes.
1960: On December 16, United Air Lines Flight 826, a DC-8 carrying 77 passengers and 7 crew members from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to Idlewild Airport (now JFK), and TWA Flight 266, a Lockheed Super Constellation traveling from Cleveland Airport to LaGuardia Airport with 44 people on board, collide in heavy fog over New York City. The United plane crashes into an apartment building and a church in Brooklyn, killing several people on the ground. In all, 134 people die.
1961: On February 15, the entire U.S. Olympic figure skating team of 18 are among 72 passengers killed when a Belgian Sabena Boeing 707 crashes near Brussels, Belgium.
1961: On September 18, United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold and 15 others die in a plane crash over Rhodesia while on a mission concerning a separatist movement in the Republic of the Congo.
1962: On January 25, Montana governor Donald Nutter is killed when his plane crashes during a snowstorm.
1962: On March 1,95 people die when an American Airlines 707 crashes at JamaicaBay, Long Island, as the result of an electrical fault.
1962: On March 4,111 people die when a British Caledonian Airways DC-7 crashes in Douala, Cameroon, as the result of a jammed elevator.
1962: On March 16, a Flying Tiger Line Lockheed Super Constellation crashes into the Pacific Ocean, killing 107.
1962: On June 3, an Air France 707 crashes during takeoff from Orly, France, killing 130.
1962: On June 22, an Air France 707 crashes into a hill in Pointe-a-Pitre, West Indies, killing 113.
1962: On July 7, an Alitalia DC-8 hits a hill in Bombay, India, killing 94.
1962: On October 7, U.S. representative Clement Miller of California is killed in a private airplane crash near Eureka, California.
1963: On March 5, country singer Patsy Cline dies in a plane crash near Camden, Tennessee.
1963: On November 29, Air Canada Flight 831, a DC-8F, stalls and goes down at St. Therese de Blainville, north of Montreal, killing all 111 passengers and 7 crew on board.
1963: On December 8, Pan Am Flight 214, a Boeing 707 traveling from Baltimore to Philadelphia, is struck by lightning and catches on fire. It crashes near Elkton, Maryland, killing all 81 on board.
1964: On February 25, Eastern Air Lines Flight 304, a DC-8 traveling from Mexico City to National Airport in Washington, D.C., crashes into Lake Pontchartrain, near New Orleans, killing all 58 passengers and crew onboard.
1964: On June 19, Senator Edward M.Kennedy is severely injured and one of his aides is killed in a private plane crash in Southhamton, Massachusetts, while on the way to the Democratic state convention.
1964: On July 31, country music star Jim Reeves and his manager are killed when their light plane crashes in dense woods near Nashville, Tennessee.
1964: On October 31, astronaut Theodore Freeman is killed when his T-38 jet crashes near Ellington Air Force Base in Houston, Texas.
1965: On May 20, a Pakistan International Airways 707 crashes while landing at an airport in Cairo, Egypt, leaving 124 dead.
1965: On June 25, a Boeing C-135A Stratolifter military transport bound for Okinawa, Japan, from El Toro Marine Corps Air Station in Orange County, California, crashes near the airbase. All 72 Marines and 12 crew members on board are killed.
1965: On November 8, an American Airlines 727 crashes on landing in Cincinnati, killing 58. 1965: On November 11, a United Air Lines 727 crashes on landing in Salt Lake City, killing 41. 1966: On January 24, an Air India 707 hits Mont Blanc in the Alps, killing 117.
1966: On February 1, Nicholas Piantanida dies during his descent after setting a new balloon flight record.
1966: On February 4, an All Nippon Airways 727 crashes on landing in Tokyo Bay, Japan, killing 113.
1966: On February 28,2 astronauts, Charles Bassett II and Elliot See, Jr., die when their T-38 jet crashes when they attempt an instrument landing at the McDonnell Aircraft field near St. Louis, Missouri.
1966: On March 5, a BOAC Boeing 707 breaks apart in flight and crashes into Mount Fuji in Japan, leaving 124 dead.
1966: On December 24, a Flying Tiger Line Canadair CL-44 crashes into a village in DaNang, Vietnam, killing 111.
1967: On January 27, the Apollo 1 capsule catches fire on the launch pad, killing astronauts Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee, and Ed White.
1967: On April 20, a chartered Swiss Globe Britannia Turboprop crashes while landing in Nicosia, Cyprus, killing 126.
1967: On April 24, cosmonaut Vladimir M. Komarov is killed when his Soyuz 1 craft crashes after its parachute lines became tangled during reentry. He becomes the first person to die on a spaceflight. 1967: On December 8, the first African American astronaut, Major Robert Lawrence, Jr., is killed in the crash of his F-104 fighter during a training exercise.
1967: On December 10, soul singer Otis Redding dies in a plane crash in Wisconsin. 1968: On March 24, 61 people die in an Aer Lingus crash in Wexford Harbor, Ireland.
1968: On March 27, the first man in space, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, is killed in the crash of his MiG-15UTI while on a training mission east of Moscow. 1969: On August 31, former heavyweight boxing champion Rocky Marciano is killed in a plane crash near Newton, Iowa.
1970: On February 15, a DC-8 plunges into the Caribbean Sea near Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic, shortly after takeoff, leaving 102 dead.
1970: On February 21, an explosion occurs in the aft of a Swissair Convair CV-990 shortly after takeoff. The plane, which was on its way to Tel Aviv, Israel, crashes while returning to the airport in Zurich, killing 47.
1970: On July 3, a British charter Dan-Air Comet jet crashes into the sea near Barcelona, Spain, on approach for a landing, killing 112.
1970: On July 5, an Air Canada DC-8 crashes while attempting to land in Toronto, killing 109.
1970: On September 21, 3 people die when their Roziere (helium and hot air) balloon, Free Life, is lost in the sea off Newfoundland during an attempted transatlantic flight. No trace of the crew or the balloon is found.
1971: On May 30, World War II hero and actor Audie Murphy dies in a small plane crash in Carroll County, Virginia. 1971: OnJune 18, a BEA Trident jetliner crashes after takeoff from Heathrow Airport in London. All 118 onboard are killed.
1971: On June 30, three cosmonauts are found dead in their Soyuz 11 craft after its automatic landing. The apparent cause of death is loss of pressurization in the spacecraft during reentry.
1971: On July 30, an All Nippon Airways 727 and a Japan Air Force F-86 collide in midair over Morioka, Japan, killing 163.
1971: On September 4, an Alaska Airlines 727 hits a mountain near Juneau, Alaska, killing 111. 1972: On May 5, an Alitalia DC-8 crashes into a mountain near Palermo, Sicily, killing 115.
1972: On June 14, a Japan Airlines DC-8 from Bangkok, Thailand, strikes the banks of the Yamuna River while trying to land in New Delhi, India, killing 86.
1972: On August 14, an onboard fire causes an Ilyushin-62 to crash on takeoff near East Berlin, East Germany, killing 156 people.
1972: On October 13, in Krasnaya Polyana, Soviet Union, an Ilyushin-62 crashes during the landing approach, killing 174.
1972: On October 13, a chartered plane carrying family and members of a soccer team from Uruguay goes down in the Chilean Andes, with 32 of the 45 onboard surviving the crash. The survivors are forced to eat those who died. By the time they are rescued seventy-two days later, only 16 people are still alive.
1972: On October 16, House Majority Leader Hale Boggs, of Louisiana, and U.S. representative Nick Begich of Alaska are killed when their plane disappears over Alaska.
1972: On December 3, 155 people die when a Convair-990 crashes on takeoff in the Canary Islands.
1972: On December 8, U.S. representative George Collins of Illinois is among 43 passengers killed when their United Air Lines Boeing 737 crashes in a residential area when it stalls while approaching Chicago’s Midway Airport. Two people on the ground also die.
1972: On December 20, a Delta Air Lines Convair-880 taxiing across a runway at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in bad weather collides with a North Central Airlines DC-9 taking off from the same runway, killing 9 on board the DC-9.
1972: On December 29, an Eastern Air Lines Lockheed L-1011 crashes on landing in Miami, killing 101 of 176 on board.
1972: On December 31, Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Roberto Clemente is killed in a plane crash while flying to Nicaragua to aid earthquake victims.
1973: On January 22, a Royal Jordanian Airlines Boeing 707 approaching an airport in Kano, Nigeria, crashes in heavy fog, killing 176 people, mostly Muslim pilgrims.
1973: On February 21, a civilian Libyan Arab Airlines Boeing 727 is shot down over the Sinai by Israeli fighters after it strays off course; 108 die and 5 survive.
1973: On April 10, a British airliner carrying tourists to a Swiss fair crashes in Hochwald, Switzerland, during a blizzard, leaving 106 dead.
1973: On July 11, a Varig Airlines Boeing 707 en route to Rio de Janeiro crashes near an airport in Paris, killing 122 of 134 passengers.
1973: On July 31, Delta Air Lines Flight 723, a DC-9 approaching Boston’s Logan Airport, strikes a seawall short of the runway and catches on fire, killing 89. 1973: On September 20, singer Jim Croce dies in a plane crash near Natchitoches, Louisiana. 1974: On February 18, one person dies when Light Heart, a cluster of ten helium balloons, is lost without a trace during an attempted transatlantic flight. 1974: On March 3, a Turkish Airlines DC-10 crashes shortly after takeoff in Paris when a cargo door opens, killing 346 people.
1974: On April 22, a Pan Am 707 hits a mountain in Bali, Indonesia, killing 107.
1974: On September 8, a TWA 707 explodes and crashes into the Ionian Sea, Greece, as a result of a terrorist bomb, killing 88.
1974: On December 1, TWA Flight 514, a Boeing 727, misses the runway while landing in bad weather in Virginia and crashes into a mountain, killing all 92 on board. 1974: On December 4, 191 people, mostly Muslim pilgrims, die in Colombo, Sri Lanka, when their DC-8 attempts to land in a rainstorm.
1975: On February 14, U.S. representative Jerry Pettis of California dies in a private plane crash near Banning, California.
1975: On April 4, a Galaxy C-58 crashes while making an emergency landing in Saigon, South Vietnam, killing 172 people, 100 of them war orphans.
1975: On June 24, Eastern Air Lines Flight 66, a Boeing 727, crashes into the runway approach lights at JFK International Airport in New York as a result of windshear. Of the 124 on board, 113 die.
1975: On August 3, a Boeing 707 plunges into a mountain near Imzizen, Morocco, killing 188.
1976: On June 27, the hijacking of an Air France plane in Entebbe, Uganda, results in passenger deaths.
1976: On August 3, U.S. representative Jerry Litton of Missouri dies in the crash of a private plane on takeoff.
1976: On September 10, a midair collision between a British Airlines Trident and a DC-9 in Zagreb, Yugoslavia, kills a total of 176 passengers and crew members.
1976: On September 19, 155 are killed when a Boeing 727 crashes into a mountain near Isparta, Turkey.
1977: On March 21, a KLM 747 collides with a Pan Am 747 on a runway at Tenerife Airport, Canary Islands, resulting in the worst air disaster of the twentieth century, with 583 casualities.
1977: On May 16, the landing gear of a New York Airways Sikorsky helicopter fails while the aircraft is parked, with rotors turning, on the rooftop heliport of the Pan Am Building in New York City. Four passengers waiting to board are killed, and a pedestrian dies after being struck by part of the rotor blades.
1977: On August 1, Francis Gary Powers, the American pilot of a U2 spy plane shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960, is killed, along with a cameraman, when his Bell helicopter crashes in Los Angeles while returning from covering a brush fire.
1977: On October 21, singer Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Steve Gaines of the country rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd are killed in a plane crash near McComb, Mississippi. 1978: On January 1, 213 die when an Air India 747 plunges into the Arabian Sea as a result of instrument failure after taking off from Bombay.
1978: On September 25, Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) Flight 182, a Boeing 727, collides in midair over San Diego, California, with a privately owned Cessna 172, killing 144 people, including 37 PSA employees on the plane and 7 people on the ground.
1978: On November 15, an Icelandic Airways DC-8 approaching an airport in Colombo, Sri Lanka, crashes in a thunderstorm, killing 183, mostly Muslim pilgrims. 1978: On December 23, an Alitalia DC-9 crashes into sea near Palermo, Italy, killing 108.
1979: On May 25, American Airlines Flight 191, aDC-10, crashes in a field shortly after takeoff from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport when an engine falls off. All 271 on board the plane are killed, as well as 2 people on the ground.
1979: On August 2, New York Yankees catcher Thurman Munson is killed in the crash of his private plane in Canton, Ohio.
1979: On August 11, 173 die when two Aeroflot Tupolev-134′s collide over the Ukraine.
1979: On November 26, a Boeing 707 crashes on takeoff near Jidda, Saudi Arabia, killing 156 passengers and crew members.
1979: On November 28, 257 people on an Air New Zealand sightseeing flight over Mount Erebus in Antarctica are killed when their DC-l0 crashes into the volcano. 1980: On March 18, a Vostok rocket explodes on its launch pad while being refueled, killing 50 at the Plesetsk Space Center in the Soviet Union.
1980: OnAugust 19, a Lockheed TriStarL-1011 makes a successful emergency landing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, but a fire kills all 301 on board.
1980: OnDecember4, Portuguese prime minister Francisco SaCarneiro, is among those who die in an airplane crash.
1981: On May 24, Ecuador president Jaime Roldos Aguilera is among those who die in an airplane crash.
1981: On July 31, General Omar Torrijos, then leader of Panama, dies in a plane crash.
1981: On December 1, a Yugoslav DC-9 crashes into a mountain near Ajaccio, Corsica, killing 180.
1982: On January 13, Air Florida Flight 90, a Boeing 737, crashes in snowfall following takeoff from Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C. The plane hits a bridge and plunges into the ice-covered Potomac River. Of the 79 passengers and crew members onboard, only 5 survive the crash. Seven vehicles on the bridge are struck, killing 4 people.
1982: On July 9,153 die when a Pan Am Boeing 727 crashes into a residential area in New Orleans after taking off during a thunderstorm.
1982: On July 23, actor Vic Morrow and two child actors are killed when a Bell UH-1B Huey helicopter lands on them during the filming of The Twilight Zone: The Movie.
1983: On June 2, a fire in the washroom of Air Canada Flight 797, a DC-9, forces the plane to land in Cincinnati. Eighteen passengers and 5 crew members escape, but 23 passengers die in the fire.
1983: On June 27, famous balloonists Maxie Anderson and Don Ida are killed when their helium balloon crashes in a West German forest during a race.
1983: On July 11, a Boeing 737 hits a mountain near Cuenca, Ecuador, killing 118.
1983: On September 1, a Korean Air Lines (KAL) Flight 007 strays off course and flies into Soviet airspace. It is shot down by a Soviet fighter, killing all 269 on board.
1983: On November 27, mechanical problems bring down an Avianca 747 near Madrid, Spain, killing 183. Eleven people survive.
1983: On December 7, an Aviaco DC-9 taxiing across a runway in Madrid, Spain, collides with an Iberia 727 taking off from the same runway, killing 93.
1985: On February 11, Ben Abruzzo, a member of the first teams to cross the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean nonstop in a balloon, is killed when his twin-engine plane crashes shortly after takeoff from Albuquerque, New Mexico.
1985: On February 19, an Iberia 727 crashes in Bilbao, Spain, killing 148.
1985: On June 14, a TWA 727 is hijacked in Greece; the passengers are held in the plane for several days, and one person is killed.
1985: On June 23, Air India Flight 182, a Boeing 747 flying from Montreal to London’s Heathrow Airport, crashes into the Atlantic Ocean near Iceland, apparently after a bomb explodes. All 307 passengers and 22 crew members are killed.
1985: On July 13, one member of the U.S. Navy’s elite Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron is killed when two of the group’s planes collide during an air show in Niagara Falls, New York.
1985: On August 2, Delta Air Lines Flight 191, a Lockheed TriStar, attempts to land in Dallas and crashes as a result of windshear, killing 135 of the 165 on board.
1985: On August 12, in the worst single-plane disaster up to that time, a Boeing 747 crashes into Mount Osutaka, Japan, killing 520 people and injuring 4 others.
1985: On August 25, thirteen-year-old Samantha Smith, her father, and 6 others are killed when their Bar Harbor Airlines Beechcraft 99 crashes while trying to land in Auburn, Maine. Smith was famous for writing a letter to Soviet leader Yuri Andropov and being invited to visit Russia.
1985: On December 12, the crash in Gander, Newfoundland, of a DC-8 shortly after takeoff kills 256 people, including 248 members of the U.S. military.
1986: On January 28, the space shuttle Challenger explodes shortly after liftoff, killing 7 astronauts, including Christa McAuliffe, a teacher who was to become the first civilian astronaut.
1986: On March 31, a Mexicana Boeing 727 crashes into a mountain near Mexico City, killing 167.
1986: On April 2, a bomb explodes in a TWA 727, tearing a hole in the fuselage through which 4 passengers are sucked out.
1986: On May 24, astronaut Stephen Thorne dies in a plane crash near Alta Loma, Texas.
1986: On August 31, an Aeromexico DC-9 descending for a landing at Los Angeles International Airport collides with a small Piper Archer that has strayed into restricted airspace. The 82 victims include all 64 passengers and crew members on board the DC-9, the family of 3 in the Piper, and 15 people on the ground in the residential neighborhood of Cerritos.
1986: On October 19, Samora Machel, the first president of Mozambique, and 34 aides are killed when their Tupolev 134A-3 crashes into a hillside in South Africa.
1986: On November 7, 45 people die when a British International Helicopters Chinook crashes into the sea off Sumburgh in the Shetland Islands. The Chinook was ferrying personnel from an offshore oil production platform.
1986: On December 25, hijackers attempt to take over an Iraqi Airways 737 traveling from Baghdad to Amman, Jordan. When security forces intervene, a handgrenade is thrown into the passenger cabin, and another explodes in the cockpit. The plane crashes in Saudi Arabia, killing 63.
1986: On December 31, Ricky Nelson, an actor on the 1950′s television show The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and a popular singer, dies in a New Year’s Eve plane crash in Dekalb, Texas.
1987: On May 13, a Polish jetliner crashes near Dobrowka, Poland, after experiencing mechanical problems, killing 183 people.
1987: OnAugust 16,156 people die when a Northwest Airlines MD-80 plane clips a light pole in a parking lot while taking off in Detroit and crashes into an underpass beneath Interstate 94. Phoenix Suns basketball player Nick Vanos is among the casualities. A four-year-old girl miraculously survives the crash.
1987: On November 26, a South African Airways Boeing 747 goes down in rough seas south of Mauritius, killing 160.
1987: On November 29, abomb planted onKAL Flight 858, a 707 traveling from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to Seoul, South Korea, explodes in midair. The plane crashes into the sea off Burma, killing all 115 on board.
1987: On December 7, David Burke, recently fired by USAir, brings a gun onboard PSA Flight 1771 from Los Angeles to San Francisco. He shoots his former boss, the pilots, and then himself, causing the plane to crash near Harmony, California, killing 44 people.
1988: On July 3, all 290 people onboard an Iran Air Airbus A-300 are killed when the plane is shot down by U.S. Navy warship Vincennes in the Persian Gulf after being misidentified as hostile.
1988: On August 17, Pakistani president Mohammad Ziaul-Haq and U.S. ambassador Arnold Raphel die in a mysterious plane crash.
1988: On August 28, three jets from the Italian Air Force acrobatic team collide in midair during an air show atRamstein Air Force Base, West Germany. The crash kills 70 people, including the pilots and some spectators on the ground.
1988: On December 21, a terrorist bomb hidden in a cassette recorder destroys Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 259 onboard the Boeing 747 and 11 on the ground. The plane was en route to New York from London.
1989: On February 24, 9 people are sucked out the back of a United Air Lines Boeing 747 and fall to their deaths in the Pacific Ocean when a forty-foot hole blows open in the fuselage 100 miles south of Hawaii en route to New Zealand. Another 27 passengers are injured.
1989: On June 7, a Surinam Airways DC-8 carrying 174 passengers and 9 crew members crashes into the jungle near Paramaribo, Suriname, while making a third attempt to land in a thick fog, killing 168 on board.
1989: On June 17, astronaut S. David Griggs dies in the crash of a World War II training plane near Earle, Arkansas.
1989: On July 19,112 out of 296 onboard are killed when United Air LinesFlight232,aDC-10,crash esat the airport in Sioux City, Iowa, while attempting to land with a disabled hydraulic system.
1989: On August 7, Texas congressman Mickey Leland, the chair of the House Select Committee onHunger, is killed in a plane crash during a trip to inspect relief efforts in Ethiopia.
1989: On August 13, Representative Larkin Smith of Mississippi is killed when his Cessna 177RG plane crashes near Janice, Mississippi.
1990: On August 27, blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan and 4 others are killed in a helicopter crash inEast Troy, Michigan, after playing a Guitar Greats show. Legendary guitarists Eric Clapton and Robert Cray had left on a separate helicopter.
1990: On October 2, a hijacker enters the cockpit of Xiamen Airlines 737 in China and demands to fly to Taiwan or Hong Kong. The captain tries to fool the hijacker by circling for thirty minutes. A struggle takes place during the approach to Guangzhou Airport, and the plane clips a parked China Southwest 707 and then strikes a China Southern 757 waiting for takeoff clearance. In all, 132 people are killed.
1991: On February 1, USAir Flight 1493, a Boeing 737, lands at Los Angeles International Airport and collides with a Sky west Metroliner awaiting takeoff clearance. All 10 passengers and 2 crew members onboard the Metroliner and 20 passengers and 2 crew members on board the USAir plane are killed.
1991: On April 4, U.S. senator John Heinz of Pennsylvania dies when his plane collides with a helicopter over a schoolyard in Merion, Pennsylvania. Two children playing outside the school are also killed.
1991: On April 5, former U.S. senator John Tower, golfer Davis Love, Sr., and NASA astronaut Sonny Carter, Jr., are among 23 killed in the crash of an Atlantic Southeast Airlines flight near Brunswick, Georgia.
1991: On May 26, an Austrian Lauda Air Boeing 767, en route to Vienna, crashes into a jungle hilltop shortly after takeoff from Bangkok, Thailand, killing all 223 aboard.
1991: On July 11, Nigeria Airways Flight 2120, a DC-8, crashes in Jidda, Saudi Arabia, while trying to return to the airport after a fire is reported in the landing gear well, killing 261 people.
1991: On October 25, rock promoter Bill Graham dies when his Bell helicopter hits an electrical transmission tower and crashes near Vallejo, California.
1993: On April 1, Winston Cup champion and NASCAR driver Alan Kulwicki and 3 others are killed when their Fairchild SA227-TT private plane goes down near Bristol, Tennessee.
1993: On April 19, South Dakota governor George Mickelson and 7 others are killed when their private plane is damaged and crashes into a silo near Zwingle, Iowa.
1994: On March 22, an Aeroflot Airbus A-310 crashes on its way to Hong Kong, killing 75, after the pilot allows his teenage son to fly the plane.
1994: On April 3, Walt Disney president Frank Wells, documentary filmmaker Beverly Johnson, and the pilot are killed when their helicopter crashes during a ski trip to the remote Ruby Mountains in Nevada. Two others survive. 1994: On April 6, a plane carrying Burundi president Cyprien Ntaryamira and Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana is shot down as it nears the Rwandan capital of Kigali. 1994: On April 14, the pilots of two AmericanF-15′s mistake two U.S. Army Blackhawk helicopters for Russian-made
Iraqi MI-24 helicopters and shoot them down over the “no-fly” zone in Iraq, killing all 26 on board. 1994: On April 26, a China Airlines Airbus A-300 traveling from Taiwan crashes in Japan while approaching Nagoya Airport for landing. Of the 271 people on board, 264 are killed and 7 passengers are seriously injured. 1994: On June 6, a China Northwest Airlines Tupolev-154 crashes nearXian, China, shortly after takeoff, killing all 160 aboard.
1994: On September 8, USAir Flight 427, a Boeing 737, crashes into a wooded ravine in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, during its approach, killing all 132 on board.
1994: On December 24, the hijacking of an Air France plane in Algiers, Algeria, results in passenger deaths.
1995: On December 20, American Airlines Flight 965, a 757 from Miami to Cali, Colombia, crashes in mountainous terrain. Of the 156 passengers and 8 crew members on board, 4 passengers survive the accident.
1996: On January 8, a Russian-built Antonov-32 cargo plane crashes into the center of Kinshasa, Zaire, killing as many as 350 people and injuring at least 470.
1996: On February 6, a Birgenair Boeing 737 crashes into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the Dominican Republic shortly after takeoff, killing 189.
1996: On February 29, a Boeing 737 experiences engine failure and crashes near Arequipa, Peru, killing 123.
1996: On March 22, Colonel Robert Overmyer, an astronaut who commanded one of the last successful flights of the space shuttle Challenger, dies when the small plane he is test-flying goes into a spin and crashes near the airport in Duluth, Minnesota.
1996: On April 3, the Air Force passenger jet carrying U.S. Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown, along with 32 others, crashes into the mountains of Bosnia, enroute to Dubrovnik, Croatia, killing all on board.
1996: On April 11, seven-year-old Jessica Dubr off, her father, and a flight instructor are killed when their small plane crashes after takeoff in Cheyenne, Wyoming, during her attempt to become the youngest pilot to fly across the United States.
1996: OnMay 11,all 110 people on board a ValuJet DC-9 are killed when the plane crashes in the Florida Everglades. Among the dead is San Diego Chargers running back Rodney Culver.
1996: On July 17, TWA Flight 800, a 747 headed to Paris from New York, explodes over the ocean near Long Island,killing 230 people. After a long investigation, the official cause is deemed a spark that ignited fumes in a fuel tank, but many people continue to believe that a missile struck the plane.
1996: On August 29, an Aeroflot plane carrying 140 passengers crashes in Norway.
1996: On November 12, Saudi Arabian Airways Flight 763, a Boeing 747, collides in midair with Kazastan Airlines Flight 1907, an Ilyushin-76, sixty miles west of New Delhi, India. In all, 349 are dead, 312 on the 747 and 37 on the Il-76.
1997: On February 5, two CH-53 Sikorsky transport helicopters shuttling elite troops to Lebanon collide in fog and rain and crash in northern Israel, killing all 73 soldiers on board.
1997: On August 5, KAL Flight 801, a 747, crashes into a hillside in Guam, killing 227 of the 254 on board.
1997: On September 26, Garuda Airlines Flight 152, an Airbus A-300 flying from Jakarta to Medan, Sumatra, crashes near Buah Nabar, Indonesia, where visibility is hampered by dense smoke from forest fires. All 234 passengers and crew are killed.
1997: On October 12, singer-songwriter and actor John Denver is killed when his home-built fiberglass plane plunges into Northern California’s Monterey Bay. 1998: On February 2, a DC-9 crashes into a mountain on Mindanao, Philippines, leaving 104 dead.
1998: On February 3, a U.S. Marine surveillance jet on a training flight in the Italian Alps flies too low and accidentally cuts the cable car line of a ski lift, causing all 20 people in the gondola to fall to their deaths.
1998: On February 16, a China Airlines Airbus A-300 returning from Bali with 197 people onboard crashes, skids into a residential area, and bursts into flames just short of a runway at Taipei’s airport. All 196 passengers and crew are killed, as well as 8 people on the ground.
1998: On April 12, balloonist Alex Ritchie dies in a skydiving accident.
1998: On September 3, Swissair flight SR111, a McDonnell Douglas (Boeing) MD-11 en route from New York to Geneva, is lost off the coast of Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia, killing 215 passengers and 14 crew members. 1998: On December 11, a Thai Airways Airbus A-310 carrying 146 people crashes into a swamp in southern Thailand as it tries to land in heavy rain. Forty-five people survive the accident, but 101 die. 1999: On July 16, John F. Kennedy, Jr., becomes disoriented while flying his Piper Saratoga at twilight off Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The plane plunges into the Atlantic Ocean, killing Kennedy, his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and her elder sister Lauren Bessette. 1999: On October 25, golf champion Payne Stewart and 5 others are killed when a private Learjet bound from Florida to Texas crashes in South Dakota after traveling 1,500 miles, most of it while the pilot, copilot, and passengers were apparently unconscious or dead. 1999: On October 31, EgyptAir Flight 990, from New York to Cairo, crashes into the ocean between Long Island, New York, and Martha’s Vineyard, with the loss of all 217 people onboard. The official investigation concludes that the copilot committed suicide by deliberately diving the plane into the water. 1999: On November 12, a United Nations ATR 42 turboprop carrying officials from the World Food Program crashes near Pristina in Kosovo, killing 24 people. 2000: On January 30, Kenya Airways Flight 431, an Airbus A310 from Nairobi, crashed into the ocean shortly after takeoff from Abidjan, Ivory Coast, killing 170 of 179 on board. 2000: On January 31, Alaska Airlines Flight 261, bound for San Francisco from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, experiences stabilizer difficulties and crashes in the Pacific Ocean off Point Mugu, California, while preparing to make an emergency landing at Los Angeles International Airport. All 88 on board are killed. 2000: On April 19, 2000, all 131 passengers and crew on board Air Philippines Flight 541 are killed when the Boeing 737 crashes in the southern Philippines. 2000: On July 25, an Air France Concorde strikes metal debris on the runway and crashes shortly after takeoff from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, killing all 109 on board and another 4 people on the ground. 2000: On August 23, Gulf Air Flight GF072, an Airbus A-320, crashes into shallow Persian Gulf waters after circling and trying to land in Bahrain, killing all 143 people on board, including 36 children. 2000: On October 16, Missouri governor and U.S. Senate candidate Mel Carnahan, his son, and an aide are killed when his campaign plane crashes near Hillsboro, Missouri. Carnahan wins the Senate race posthumously, and his wife is appointed to fill his seat until a new election can be held. 2001: On May 22, a small plane carrying astronaut Patricia Hilliard Robertson cartwheels and crashes into trees near Wolfe Air Park in Manvel, Texas. She dies from the resulting burns two days later. 2001: On August 25, R&B singer and actress Aaliyah is killed when her Cessna 402B airplane crashes and explodes on impact after takeoff from the Abaco Island airport in the Bahamas, where she had just completed a music video. 2001: On September 11, teams of terrorists hijack two 767′s out of Boston’s Logan Airport, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Air Lines Flight 175, and crash them into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, causing both buildings to collapse. A third hijacked plane, American Flight 77, a 757 out of Washington’s Dulles Airport, is crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. A fourth hijacked plane, United Flight 93 out of Newark, New Jersey, crashes in a field near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, when passengers storm the cockpit of the 757 in an attempt to overcome the terrorists. In total, more than 3,000 people, from the planes and on the ground, are killed.
2001: On October 4, all 78 crew and passengers are killed on board a Tupolev Tu-154 jet when it explodes and crashes into the Black Sea while Ukrainian forces hold live-fire missile exercises in the Crimean peninsula. Most of the passengers are Russian-born Israelis flying from Tel Aviv to Siberia.
2001: OnNovember 12, American Airlines Flight 587, an Airbus A300 en route from New York to the Dominican Republic, crashes into a residential neighborhood in Queens shortly aftertakeoff from JFK. All 260 onboard are killed.

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