A plane does not often crash, but if it happens many victims may fall. Two of the three worst flying disasters in history came from a collision between planes in the air or on the ground.
1. Double disaster on Tenerife
Year: 1977 Victims: 583
The worst air crash in history took place on the ground, at the airport of the Spanish holiday island of Tenerife. Two Boeing 747s crashed into the runway, which was covered in thick fog.
One of the planes, a KLM aircraft, had 248 people on board. The other, from Pan-Am, had 396 occupants.
Without waiting for permission, the KLM commander pulled open the throttle, believing that he had a job. The Pan Am aircraft caught fire in the collision, and only 61 of the passengers survived the disaster. All 248 people on board the KLM aircraft were killed.
The runway was littered with debris after the worst air disaster in history on March 27, 1977.
2. Japanese plane crashes after bad repair
Year: 1985 Victims: 520
During a short domestic flight the pressure dropped in the cabin of flight JAL 123, a Boeing 747 from Japan Airlines. The tail fin broke due to the overpressure, and at the same time the pipes of the hydraulic system of the device fell and the liquid ran out.
Although the pilots were no longer in control of the plane, it flew on for 32 minutes before it crashed into a mountainside. Four passengers survived the disaster in a miraculous way. The cause of the accident was a faulty repair after a hard landing seven years earlier. With 520 deaths, it is the most deadly disaster involving one aircraft.
The Boeing 747 from Japan Airlines crashed after a 32-minute flight without a tail fin in a forested mountain area east of Tokyo.
3. Collision in the air near New Delhi
Year: 1996 Victims: 349
A Boeing 747 from Saudi Arabian Airlines had just taken off from New Delhi airport when it was rammed by a Kazakhstan Airlines Iljoesjin II-76 landing.
At the collision at 4300 meters above the village of Charkhi Dadri, the Kazakh plane with its tail hit the left wing of the Saudi jumbo jet, and both parts broke down.
All 312 passengers of the Saudi aircraft and 37 of the Kazakh died. The Kazakh pilots spoke poor English and had started flying lower than the instructions from the traffic control indicated.
The Kazakh aircraft crashed into a Saudi jumbo jet because the pilots misunderstood the English instructions from the air traffic controller.
The air crash from minute to minute
The Japan Airlines accident of 1985 was the deadliest air disaster involving only one aircraft. In our article you can follow the course of events from minute to minute: