Aircraft accidents and incidents


Aircraft, although considered the safest mode of transport, accidents with aircraft have more tragic consequences. Such incidents are characterized by a large number of casualties, significant damage or destruction of the aircraft, public outcry and close media attention.

Flight Accident Classification

Aircraft accidents and incidents are classified according to several criteria. There are ground and flight accidents. Ground incidents are those that occurred before or after the flight. Aviation accidents are those disasters that are related to the flight crew’s performance by the crew.


In addition, there are breakdowns, accidents and catastrophes. Breakdown leads to minor damage to the aircraft, there are no victims and injuries. An accident is an incident that did not cause death of people, as a result of which the aircraft suffers significant damage or collapses. Disasters are accidents that are characterized by:

  • damage to the aircraft so that repairs are not economically viable or impossible, the complete destruction of the aircraft;
  • death of passengers or crew members, as well as people from among those aboard during the next 30 days from the moment of the incident.

Causes of accidents

The most common cause of aviation accidents are pilot errors, i.e. the human factor. In 42% of cases for other reasons, accidents occur. Disaster factors are distributed as follows:

  • 58% of incidents that caused the death of one or more passengers or crew members occur due to pilot errors.
  • 22% of tragic cases occur due to equipment failure.
  • 12% of accidents occur in adverse weather conditions during the flight.
  • 9% of accidents happen due to terrorist attacks.
  • 7% are accounted for by airport ground staff errors.
  • 1% of aviation incidents occur due to the influence of another kind of causes.


Aircraft accidents and incidents caused by the human factor in 29% of cases occurred by accidental coincidence, due to carelessness or forgetfulness of pilots, 16% are due to errors caused by difficult meteorological conditions, in 5% of cases the cause of accidents is equipment failure.

Air Crash Investigation Techniques

Every tragic accident with an aircraft is subject to mandatory review and analysis. The rules for investigating accidents and incidents imply the prompt creation of a rapid response team composed of specialists from areas directly or indirectly related to this area. In the future, the case is transferred to the commission for the investigation of an accident or accident in Russia, the National Transportation Security Council in the United States or other services.

Analysis of accidents and incidents involves the following steps:

  • Search for the main four parts of the aircraft to determine whether the aircraft crashed on the ground or disintegrated in the air.
  • Search and listen to flight recorders.
  • Check of negotiations of pilots with the dispatcher.
  • Analysis of meteorological reports.
  • Search and collect all the wreckage of the aircraft.
  • Tests of similar models of equipment in simulators.
  • Analysis of the personal files of the pilots and the identification of possible psychological factors that influenced the fact of the disaster.
  • Verification of passengers and cargo according to the documentation in order to exclude or confirm the version of the attack.
  • Survey of survivors and witnesses of the tragedy, watching a video of what happened.
  • Pathology of the corpses.

Air crash statistics by country

The statistics of the number of accidents with civil aircraft by a large margin headed by the United States. So, from 1945 to 2013 in the United States more than seven hundred accidents happened with fatalities. Accident statistics for the same period show that the number of passengers and crew members killed in accidents was ten and a half thousand people.


Russia in the sad statistics is located on the second line. Canada, Brazil, Colombia, the United Kingdom, France, India, Indonesia and Mexico are also among the top ten countries in terms of accidents and disasters. The large gap between the United States and other countries in the ranking is explained by the fact that the share of the States accounted for 28% of civil aircraft departures in the world.

The largest disaster in Russia

There have been major accidents in Russia. The most terrible tragedy in terms of the number of victims was the collision of a Tu-154 plane that was operating a flight on the route Krasnodar-Novosibirsk through Omsk, with three airport service vehicles on the runway in 1984. As a result of the accident, the plane collapsed, out of 179 people on the plane, only five survived.

Some sources call the border incident on Sakhalin Island the biggest disaster in Russia in 1983. After a double violation of the USSR border, the South Korean Boeing 747 was shot down. The death toll was 269.

The largest catastrophe in the USSR

USSR aviation incidents have a hundred or more dead in only three cases in the entire history of Soviet aviation. The largest incident is the fall of the Tu-154 near Uchkuduk, in Uzbekistan. The board made a passenger flight on the route Karshi-Ufa-Leningrad, but forty-six minutes after takeoff, the ship lost control and entered the tailspin. The cause of the tragic accident was a control error. According to another version, the pilots rest mode was violated. All two hundred people on board were killed.

The attacks of September 11, 2001 in the United States

The two largest accidents in the world in the world are incidents with flights 11 Boston - Los Angeles and 175 Logan - Los Angeles, which were captured by terrorists and sent to the towers of the World Trade Center with a difference of 17 minutes. In the first aircraft (Boeing 767-223ER) there were 92 passengers, pilots and flight attendants, including 5 hijackers, in the second - 65 people, among whom there were also 5 hijackers. As a result of the first collision, about 1, 692 people died in general (passengers and crew of the aircraft, terrorists, people who were in the World Trade Center and rescuers), after the second, about 965 people were also killed.


Collision at Los Rodeos Airport

Another major accident happened at the end of March 1977 in the Canary Islands. Two Boeings collided on the runway, flying from Amsterdam to Las Palmas and Los Angeles to Las Palmas via New York. The official reason for the crash was that the investigation acknowledged the incorrect interpretation of the dispatcher’s commands and the crew’s mistakes. As a result of the accident killed 583 people.

The crash of Boeing 747 near Tokyo

In 1985, accidents were replenished with another tragic incident that occurred in Tokyo. The plane, carrying out the domestic flight of Tokyo-Osaka, lost the tail stabilizer twelve minutes after takeoff, as a result of which he lost control and crashed into the mountain 112 kilometers from the capital of Japan.

Of the 524 people who were on board, only four survived. Many passengers died not at the moment of impact, but on the ground - from hypothermia and injuries received. Perhaps, if help arrived earlier (four survivors were discovered fourteen hours after the crash), some of them could have been saved.


Clash over Charkhi Dadri

The first in the number of casualties in a collision of planes in the air is a catastrophe - the crash of a Boeing 747-168B airline of Saudi Arabia Airlines and an aircraft of Kazakhstan Airlines. The incident occurred in the sky over the Indian city of Charkhi Dadri. The crash killed 349 people aboard both aircraft. Among the victims of the incident are citizens of India, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, the United States, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the United Kingdom (to reduce the number of deaths).

The reasons for the incident, the official commission recognized such factors:

  • poor knowledge of English flight attendants and aircraft pilots;
  • lack of skill pilots and poor performance of duties by the crew;
  • lack of standard professional phraseology among pilots;
  • only a single corridor for takeoffs and landings;
  • lack of radar at Indian Delhi Airport.

Turkish Airlines crash near Paris

The catastrophe over Paris occurred in early March 1973. The Turkish Airlines airliner was flying the Istanbul-London route via Paris when the cargo door opened six minutes after takeoff. The plane lost control and collapsed into small fragments in the fall. All aboard were killed, i.e. 334 passengers and twelve crew members.

Terrorist attack over the atlantic ocean

The terrorist act that occurred in 1985 over the Atlantic Ocean killed 329 people. The crash occurred in neutral waters, the plane broke up into fragments as a result of an explosion in the cargo hold. Three extremist groups in the United States and Canada immediately claimed responsibility for the incident.


Accident of Saudi Arabian Airlines in Riyadh

In 1980, the plane of Saudi Arabia Airlines operated a flight on the route Karachi - Riyadh - Jeddah. A few minutes after takeoff, a fire occurred on board. The crew of the aircraft was able to make an emergency landing, but rescue work began only twenty-three minutes after landing. The flight attendants were unable to open the doors and begin evacuation, and the airport services took time to understand the relevant instructions in English. As a result of the delay, all 287 passengers and fourteen crew members died.

Tragedy over Donetsk in 2014

The largest air crash of the twenty-first century in the post-Soviet space occurred in the summer of 2014 over the territory of the armed confrontation between government forces and units of the Donetsk People's Republic. The Boeing 777, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur (the capital of Malaysia), was shot down from a Buk self-propelled anti-aircraft complex. The search operation and the investigation of the incident were complicated by the fact that the area where the plane crashed was between two fronts.


As a result of the disaster killed 298 people. The spokesperson of the World Health Organization, the senator from the Netherlands Labor Party, the Australian writer, and the participants of the conference of the International Society for the Fight against AIDS took advantage of the flight. The incident was a significant factor in the introduction of new sanctions against Russia, influenced stock indexes and the bankruptcy of Malaysia Airlines.

Accident of cargo AN-32 in Zaire

The ten largest accident accidents closes the incident with the cargo AN-32, which occurred in Zaire. The plane could not rise into the air and crashed into the market, which was very close to the runway. As a result of the accident, a flight mechanic died on board the aircraft, and 297 people on the ground, among whom were mostly women and children. Of the dead, only 66 were identified.

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