Deadliest air disasters in recent world history – USA TODAY

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An EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo went off radar early Thursday morning with 66 people on board. Here’s a look at the deadliest air disasters in recent decades:

MARCH 24, 2015: Germanwings Flight 9525, 150 dead

Germanwings Flight 9525 with 150 passengers and crew crashed in the French Alps en route from Barcelona to the German city of Duesseldorf. All on board are presumed dead.

DEC. 28, 2014: AirAsia Flight 8501, 162 dead

AirAsia Flight 8501, en route from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore, plummeted into the Java Sea less than an hour after takeoff amid heavy storms. All 162 passengers and crew on board perished.

JULY 17, 2014: Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, 298 dead

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down in a rebel-held area of eastern Ukraine. The jet, carrying 283 passengers and 15 crew, crashed after being hit by what U.S. officials suspect was a surface-to-air missile launched from an area controlled by Russian-backed separatists.

MARCH 8, 2014: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, 239 dead

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared less than an hour after takeoff. The plane was traveling from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Beijing. It vanished over the Indian Ocean with 239 passengers and crewmembers on board. Though the search continues for the missing plane, no confirmed debris or crash site have been found.

JUNE 1, 2009: Air France Flight 447, 228 dead

Air France Flight 447 went down during a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, resulting in the deaths of all 216 passengers and 12 crew. Recovery efforts were hampered because the plane went down on a deep section of the Atlantic Ocean. The wreckage and the black boxes from the plane were not recovered from the ocean floor until May 2011.

NOV. 12, 2001: American Airlines Flight 587, 265 dead

Just two months after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, American Airlines Flight 587, on its way to the Dominican Republic, crashed in Queens, N.Y., after taking off from John F. Kennedy International airport. All 260 people on board and five people on the ground died. The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the cause of the crash was overuse of the rudder mechanism.

JULY 25, 2000: Air France Concorde Flight 4590, 113 dead

A metal strip on a Continental DC-10 fell onto the runway in Paris and punctured a tire on the Concorde. Bits of tire got into fuel tanks, which started a fire that brought down the plane, which plowed into a hotel, killing 109 aboard the aircraft and four on the ground. The plane had been headed for New York City. The crash of the Germanwings plane was the first on French soil since the Concorde.

OCT. 31, 1999: EgyptAir Flight 990, 217 dead

EgyptAir Flight 990 from Los Angeles to Cairo crashed in the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 217 people on board. An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board found that the Egyptian pilot brought the plane down intentionally. However, the Egyptian Civil Aviation Agency determined that the plane crashed because of a mechanical failure.

SEPT. 2, 1998: Swissair Flight 111, 229 dead

All 229 people aboard Swissair Flight 111 died when the plane, flying from New York to Switzerland, crashed in the Atlantic Ocean southwest of Halifax, Canada. The captain was unable to tame a fire that started above the ceiling in the cockpit and eventually lost control of the plane amid the spreading fire and smoke.

JULY 17, 1996: TWA Flight 800, 230 dead

TWA Flight 800 was flying from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to Paris when it exploded near Long Island, killing all 230 people aboard. Terrorism was initially suspected, but a four-year investigation by the NTSB determined a fuel tank explosion sparked by a short circuit in the wiring caused the crash.

DEC. 21, 1988: Pan Am Flight 103, 270 dead

Pan Am 103 exploded shortly after taking off from London’s Heathrow Airport on Dec. 21, 1988. All 243 passengers and 16 crew — including 189 Americans — died in the bombing, which was a terrorist plot. The plane broke into three parts and landed at Sherwood Crescent in Lockerbie, Scotland, where a fireball consumed several houses and killed 11 people. The plane had been headed for New York.

AUG. 12, 1985: Japan Airlines Flight 123, 520 dead

Shortly after departing Tokyo for Osaka, Japan Airlines Flight 123 experienced an explosive decompression but was able to stay airborne for about 30 more minutes before crashing in a remote area in Gunma Prefecture, Japan, according to the FAA. Of the 524 on board the flight, four survived.

MAY 25, 1979: American Airlines Flight 191, 273 dead

The left-wing engine of American Flight 191 came off just before lifting off fromChicago’s O’Hare airport, ripping away the wing’s control surfaces. Airborne for only seconds, the plane flipped onto its back in the air and hit the ground nose first at nearly 200 mph, killing 273. The jet was bound for Los Angeles.

MARCH 27, 1977: KLM and Pan Am collision, 583 dead

One of the largest commercial air disasters happened off the coast of West Africa on the island of Tenerife, killing 583 people. Two Boeing 747 jumbo jets, one owned by KLM and the other by Pan Am, collided in thick fog on the runway at Los Rodeos airport.

A version of this story was originally posted on March 25, 2015. Contributing: Allison Gray, USA TODAY

Deadliest air disasters in recent world history – USA TODAY

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