The following events are those involving at least one passenger death where the aircraft flight had a direct or indirect role. Excluded would be events where the only passengers killed were stowaways, hijackers, or saboteurs.
20 November 1974; Lufthansa 747-100; Nairobi, Kenya: The aircraft was not properly configured for takeoff and stalled shortly after becoming airborne, crashing about 3600 feet (1100 meters) beyond the end of the runway. The crash killed 55 of the 140 passengers and 4 of the 17 crew.
27 March 1977; KLM 747-200; Tenerife, Canary Islands: The aircraft had been on a non-scheduled flight from Amsterdam to the Las Palmas airport in the Canary Islands, but had been diverted to Tererife because of a bomb explostion in the passenger terminal in Las Palmas. Because of limited visibility and communications difficulties between air traffic control and the KLM aircraft, the KLM 747 started its takeoff while the Pan Am aircraft was on the same runway. All 234 passengers and 14 crew were killed in the KLM 747. Nine of the 16 crew and 321 of the 380 passengers on the Pan Am flight were killed.
27 March 1977;Pan Am 747-100; Tenerife, Canary Islands: The aircraft had been scheduled to arrive at the Las Palmas airport after a non-scheduled flgiht from New York's JFK
airport, but was diverted to Tenerife after a bomb explosion at the Las Palmas airport. Because of limited visibility and communications difficulties between air traffic control and a KLM 747 aircraft, the KLM 747 started its takeoff and collided with the Pan Am 747 that was taxiing on the same runway. Nine of the 16 crew and 321 of the 380 passengers on the Pan Am flight were killed. All 234 passengers and 14 crew on the KLM 747 were killed.
3 November 1977; El Al 747; over Belgrade, Yugoslavia: One passenger died after a decompression event.
1 January 1978; Air India 747-200; Bombay, India: The plane crashed in the sea shortly after takeoff, killing all 190 passengers and 23 crew. Flight International magazine states that this accident was due to a failure of an attitude detector.
19 November 1980; Korean Air Lines 747-200; Seoul, South Korea: The aircraft undershot its landing and impacted just short of the runway causing severe damage to the landing gear. The aircraft caught fire after it slid to a stop. Six of the 14 crew members and eight of the 198 passengers were killed. Also killed was one person on the ground.
11 August 82, Pan Am 747, near Hawaii: The aircraft was en route from Japan to the U.S. with 285 aboard when a bomb exploded under a seat, killing one passenger.
16 August 1982; China Airlines 747; near Hong Kong: The aircraft encountered severe turbulence during the flight. Two of the 292 passengers were killed.
1 September 1983; Korean Air Lines 747-200; near Sakhalin Island, Soviet Union: The aircraft was shot down by at least one Soviet air to air missile after the 747 had strayed into Soviet airspace. All 240 passengers and 29 crew were killed.
International Committee for the Rescue of KAL 007 Survivors
Rescue 007: The Untold Story of KAL 007 and Its Survivors
KAL Flight 007: The Hidden Story
27 November 1983; Avianca 747-200; near Madrid, Spain: The aircraft was approaching the Madrid airport at night when it descended too low and hit the ground. All 20 crew and 161 of the 172 passengers were killed.
23 June 1985; Air India 747-200; Atlantic Ocean, near the Irish coast: The flight, which was en route to Bombay from Canada, had a bomb explode on board near the Irish coast. The aircraft broke up in flight and crashed into the sea. All 307 passengers and 22 crew were killed.
12 August 1985; Japan Air Lines 747SR; Mt. Ogura, Japan: The aircraft had a sudden decompression that damaged hydraulic systems and the vertical fin. That damage also disabled the flight controls for the rudder and elevator. All 15 crew members and 505 of the 509 passengers were killed.
5 September 1986; Pan Am 747; Karachi, Pakistan: Four hijackers attempted to take control of the aircraft while it was on the ground, but the flight crew departed through the cockpit escape hatch. About 16 passengers were killed before the hijacking ended.
28 November 1987; South African Airlines 747- 200 Combi; over Indian Ocean: The aircraft crashed during a flight between Taiwan and South Africa apparently due to a fire in the main deck cargo area. All 141 passengers and 19 crew were killed.
5 April 1988; Kuwait Airways 747-200 Combi; Cyprus: The aircraft, with about 100 passeners and crew was hijacked on flight from Bhangkok, Thailand to Kuwait. During the 16-day event, two hostages were killed in Cyprus before the hijackers surrendered.
21 December 1988; Pan Am 747-100; near Lockerbie, Scotland: The aircraft was about a half hour into a scheduled flight from London's Heathrow airport to JFK
airport in New York when a bomb detonated in the forward cargo compartment. The explosion led to an in flight breakup of the aircraft. All 16 crew and 243 passengers perished. Eleven people on the ground were also killed.
Lockerbie: The Inside Story
Pan Am 103 : The Lockerbie Cover-Up
24 February 1989; United Air Lines 747-100; near Hawaii: The forward cargo door blew out during climb and part of the fuselage and interior also blew out of the aircraft. Nine of the 336 passengers were killed.
20 February 1992; Aerolineas Argentinas 747; en route to Los Angeles from Argentina: One passenger died of food poisoning.
4 October 1992; El AL
747-200; Amsterdam, Netherlands: Shortly after departing Amsterdam on a flight to Tel Aviv, the number three engine and pylon separated from the wing and collided with the number engine. This collision also caused the number four engine and pylon to separate. Part of the leading edge of the right wing was damaged, and several other aircraft systems were affected. During an emergency air turnback to Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, the crew experienced problems controlling the aircraft. The crew lost control of the aircraft shortly before landing, and the aircraft crashed into an apartment building. All three crew members and one other aircraft occupant were killed, as were 43 people on the ground.
Note: This event did not involve passenger deaths on a passenger flight and is not included in the fatal event rate calculations. This event is included because of the significant number of deaths on the ground.
11 December 1994; Philippine Airlines 747-200; Pacific Ocean: A small bomb detonated under a seat, killing one of the 287 passengers.
17 July 1996; TWA 747-100; Atlantic Ocean near Long Island, NY: The aircraft was on a flight from JFK
airport in New York to Paris and had a catastrophic in flight breakup shortly after departure. All 18 crew and 212 passengers perished.
NTSB Abstract of Full Report
NTSB Full Report
Additional NTSB Background Information
In the Blink of an Eye
The Downing of TWA Flight 800
5 September 1996; Air France 747-400; near Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso: Severe turbulence associated with a weather front seriously injured three of the 206 passengers. One of the three passengers later died of injuries caused by an in flight entertainment screen.
12 November 1996; Saudi Arabian Airlines 747-100; near New Delhi, India: The departing 747 had a midair collision with an inbound Kazakhstan Air Lines Ilyushin 76 cargo jet about seven minutes after the 747 had departed New Delhi. The collision occurred near Charkhi Dadri, about 60 miles (96 km) west of New Delhi. All 23 crew members and 289 passengers on the 747 were killed. The 10 crew members and 27 passengers on the Ilyushin were also killed.
6 August 1997; Korean Air 747-300; Agana, Guam USA: The aircraft crashed about three miles (4.8 km) short of the runway during a night time approach in heavy rain. Twenty one of the 23 crew members and 207 of the 231 passengers were killed.
NTSB Accident Synopsis
NTSB Accident Report
Additional NTSB Background Information
28 December 1997; United Airlines 747-100; over Pacific Ocean near Japan: The aircraft encountered severe turbulence during cruise about two hours after departing Japan. One of the 346 passengers was killed. None of the 23 crew members were killed but three sustained serious injuries.
4 January 1998; Olympic Airways 747; over Atlantic Ocean:
Prior to the flight from Athens to New York, a passenger who had asthma and a history of sensitivity to secondhand smoke requested seating in the non-smoking area of the aircraft. Once onboard, the passenger's family discovered that their assigned seats were three rows ahead of the economy class smoking section. This smoking section was not partitioned off from the non-smoking section. Prior to takeoff and during the flight, one of the passenger's family members made three requests of the cabin crew to switch seats, but the cabin crew did not arrange for a switch into one of the 11 available unoccupied seats on the aircraft. Several hours into the flight, the passenger suffered a reaction to the ambient smoke and died.
A U.S. District Court determined that exposure to ambient second-hand smoke was the primary cause of the passenger's death. The U.S. Supreme Court, in a decision made on 24 February 2004, held that this event constituted an accident under Article 17 of the Warsaw Convention, an international treaty that among other things defines an accident as something that is an “unexpected or unusual event or happening that is external to the passenger.” There were 411 passengers on the flight.
Fatal Events Since 1970 for Olympic Airways
U.S. Supreme Court Decision case 02-1348, 24 February 2002
U.S. Court of Appeals case 00-17509, 12 December 2002
31 October 2000; Singapore Airlines 747-400; Taipei, Taiwan:
The aircraft crashed and burned shortly after taking off from Taipei on a scheduled flight to Los Angeles. The aircraft reportedly attempted to take off on a runway that was undergoing repairs and struck construction equipment on the runway. There was rain and wind in the area from an approaching typhoon at the time of the crash. There were 79 fatalities among the 159 passengers and four fatalities among the 20 crew members on the aircraft.
25 May 2002; China Airlines 747-200; near the Penghu Islands, Taiwan: The aircraft crashed into the sea about 20 minutes into a flight from Taipei to Hong Kong. The impact area was in the Taiwan Straits near the Penghu Islands about 75 km (47 mi) from the coast of Taiwan. Weather and flight conditions were normal, and no distress signal or other communication was received prior to the crash. The flight was carrying 19 crew members and 206 passengers. There were no reports of survivors.
Fatal China Airlines Events
Fatal Events for Airlines of Asia