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747: After 35 Years How Many Accidents?

Sun Jan 09, 2005 10:59 am

How many accidents have involved deaths in a 747 (everything, even terrorists strikes)? Did accidents like Tenerife or early flaws threatened the existence of the aircraft ?

[Edited 2005-01-09 03:03:44]
Posts: 136
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 5:51 pm

RE: 747: After 35 Years How Many Accidents?

Sun Jan 09, 2005 11:06 am

From airsafe.com

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.
Accident Details

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
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RE: 747: After 35 Years How Many Accidents?

Sun Jan 09, 2005 10:47 pm

I would suggest http://aviation-safety.net over this dodgy website.... You can't blame the 747 for one food poisoning death, right? On the other hand, it ignores or forgets major fatal accidents like Iran Air Force over Spain in 1975, China Airlines Cargo in 1991, Korean Air Cargo in UK 1999. check http://aviation-safety.net/database/dblist.php?field=typecode&var=104%&cat=%1&sorteer=datekey&page=1
nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
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RE: 747: After 35 Years How Many Accidents?

Sun Jan 09, 2005 11:22 pm

From a look at the aviation-safety.net website, there were 40 hull-loss accidents/incidnets involving all models of 747's, including pax and freight versions. Of that, 24 indicate a loss of at least 1 life. I would not include some guy dying of second-hand smoke as an accident per the point in the
Only a few, like TW 800, of the accidents involved a design or mechanical failure of a component of the aircraft itself. Clearly the overwhelming majority involved situations external to the aircraft involved. Many were involved in acts of terror (and I include the Korean Air a/c shot down by the USSR as an act of terror). Others were due to pilot errors, bad weather, improper repairs (JAL in Japan) and flawed maintenance and operations procedures. This is quite different from the DC-10, where several design and manufacuring problems caused several accidents, at a much higher % rate than the 747.
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RE: 747: After 35 Years How Many Accidents?

Mon Jan 10, 2005 12:03 am

If it's not broken, don't fix it !
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RE: 747: After 35 Years How Many Accidents?

Mon Jan 10, 2005 12:40 pm

We should not forget the Imperial Iranian Air Force B747-131 that exploded while landing at Madrid (1976). The design flaw (center tank) was the same as the one that brought done the TWA B747-131 down 20 years later. A lot of time was avaialble to avoid the second tragedy.
Boland Aseman Jayegah Man Ast.
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RE: 747: After 35 Years How Many Accidents?

Mon Jan 10, 2005 2:26 pm

How about that crash in Halifax last year?
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RE: 747: After 35 Years How Many Accidents?

Mon Jan 10, 2005 5:32 pm

In above list I´m also missing the crash of the Korean Air 744 at Guam, I can´t remember which year that was.

And yes, there is a big difference between a crash due to a mechanical or crew failure, terrorist act, or a death that has nothing to do with the aircraft itself (such as food poisoning or a passenger with asthma...)
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RE: 747: After 35 Years How Many Accidents?

Mon Jan 10, 2005 7:15 pm

aviation-safety.net is the best/comprehensive internet reference regarding airliner accidents. airdisaster.com comes in second.

Looking at the number of 747s lost the record is neither particularly good, nor bad, but...

...whats stunning is the giant leap in safety the 747-400 represents over the 747 Classic.

Out of all 747-400s, accounting for about half of the 1350plus 747s built to date, only 3 frames were lost over 15 years of service, only one of them in a fatal accident. And all these 3 accidents were "bad luck" accidents not related to technical failure of the particular type.
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RE: 747: After 35 Years How Many Accidents?

Mon Jan 10, 2005 7:23 pm

In general, do you think a modern glass cockpit with two crew is safer than an old flight deck loaded with switches and buttons, and with three crew?
I suppose a modern cockpit makes a clearer overview possible in emergencies, but in cases such as the fire on the Swissair MD11, a third crew member in the cockpit could have made a big difference regarding the handling of the situation.

I don´t think personally I feel safer on a 747-400 instead of a 747-200, but my enthusiasm doesn´t make me quite neutral I suppose...  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

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