Top 10 Horrific Air Disasters You’ve Probably Never Heard


Though the air travel is the safest way to travel, no one knows what may happen at any point in time. Air disasters somehow attract a lot of attention with their scene and destruction. You’ve probably heard about the Flight MH370 or Pan Am Flight 103 but there are some deadly airplane disasters which you might not be aware of. Don’t be surprised if the air disasters listed below do not sound familiar to you.


1. Iran Air Flight 655 (1988)

If you’ve never heard of the Iran Air Flight 655 tragedy, you’re far from alone. This little-known air tragedy occurred on July 3, 1988, when the Iranian flight was shot down by the missile cruiser USS Vincennes over the Strait of Hormuz. All the 290 people on board were killed. Those on board the USS Vincennes mistook the flight to be an incoming F-14 fighter jet and fired two missiles and blasted it out of the sky. The whole of Iran was traumatized. In fact, many believe that the Pan Am Flight 103 which was bombed in the air over Scotland on December 21 in the very same year, was a revenge attack by Iran. We’ll leave it up to you to decide whether is it true or just a conspiracy.

2. Superga Air Disaster (1949)

On May 4, 1949, a plane carrying the Grande Torino football team after a match in Lisbon, came in too low on its way to Turin due to foul weather. The low lying clouds and the mist made it impossible for the pilot to see and by the time the mist cleared, the plane crashed into the Superga Hill, killing all 31 people aboard. Grande Torino was by far one of the best club football team in the world. They won the Italian league for the fifth year in a row but the disaster wiped all the celebrations out. Over half a million people came to take part in club’s funeral procession.

3. Avianca Flight 203 Bombing (1989)

In 1989, Pablo Escobar, the powerful and terrifying drug kingpin, wanted to kill the Colombian presidential candidate, Cesar Gaviria. Rather than gun him down or blow up his car, Escobar decided to target the plane Gaviria was going to travel on. Just five minutes after the takeoff of Avianca Flight 203, a man wearing a suit and carrying a suitcase ignited the bomb over the municipality of Soacha on November 27, 1989. All 107 innocent people were killed but surprisingly, Escobar’s target Cesar Gaviria had not boarded the flight. Gaviria went onto win the election and under his watch, Escobar was gunned down on a rooftop in Medellin.

4. Erebus Disaster (1979)

A sightseeing airplane, ANZ 901 regularly left New Zealand to fly over Antarctica before returning the same day. But on 28th of November 1979, the plane crashed into Mt. Erebus on Ross Island, Antarctica, killing all 257 on board. On this particular day, Air New Zealand had changed the route, entering new coordinates. The flight crew did not expect to find themselves in the path of a mountain but it was too late. Even the rescue operation was made difficult by howling winds and freezing temperatures and 34 bodies were never recovered.

5. Stockport Air Disaster (1967)

In 1967, a British flight carrying vacationers was returning from Spain when it suddenly lost power over Manchester. The plane descended into a residential area and seconds later, crashed into a wasteland and exploded near Stockport town center. 84 people had boarded the plane and only 12 survived the crash. The pilot was later praised for guiding the plane away from the residential area, thus avoiding a much higher death toll.

6. Japan Airlines Flight 123 (1985)

The crash of Japan Airlines Flight 123 on 12th of August 1985 is the second deadliest aviation crash in history with 520 fatalities. The plane slammed into Mt Takamagahara outside Tokyo at over 200mph. But somehow, four people managed to survive the deadly crash. The crash could have been easily avoided if proper maintenance was done as the reason behind the crash is said to be faulty repair of the rear door. As a result, the aircraft spiraled out of control, its wing clipped a mountain, and crashed on its back.

7. Santa Ana Airshow Crash (1938)

The airshow taking place at Bogota in 1938 was supposed to show off the skills of Colombia’s fighter pilots. As people watched in stands, pilot Cesar Abadia attempted a low-altitude dive but he got his timing horribly wrong. The plane’s wing clipped the stand seating both the outgoing and incoming president of Colombia, collapsing the roof and the plane itself went into a spin. The plane crashed into a crowd of civilians before exploding. By the time the flames were put out, 45 people died and 200 were injured.


8. The Freckleton Air Disaster (1944)

In August 1944, an American bomber lost its way in a heavy storm over the Irish Sea and accidentally ended up over Lancashire. As the storm escalated, pilot John Bloemendal lost control and hit a tree which split the plane in two over Freckleton. One part slammed through houses and a bar while other crashed into a village school and caught fire. The impact killed 14 at the bar and 38 kids and 6 teachers at the school while all the three crewmen on the plane died too.

9. The USS Akron Airship Disaster (1933)

The USS Akron belonged to the Navy yet the airship was not equipped with life jackets or rafts which might come handy if the airship ever plunged into the water. On April 4, 1933, Captain Frank McCord was operating the ship too low and the tail sank, until it clipped the waves, drowning the whole ship and 73 passengers. Two more lives were lost during the rescue operation.


10. The R101 Airship Disaster (1930)

On 5th of October 1930, the British airship R101 crashed on a hill in Northern France. The impact was gentle and survivable but the hydrogen inflated ship triggered fire which incinerated 46 of the passengers and crew. The disaster could have been avoided if the mechanical problems were addressed and if correct decisions were taken by the officials.

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