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    A Fear of Flying? The Most Destructive Aircraft Crashes Since 2016

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    Against the backdrop of an ongoing court case in the UK over a 2015 plane crash, Sputnik takes a look at some of the most disastrous aircraft accidents to have happened since 2016 and asks: are we really as safe as we think we are aboard commercial airliners?

    A British courtroom has been showed footage from the final moments of what has become known as the ‘Shoreham Airshow disaster' which left 11 people, all men, dead on a hot August afternoon in 2015.

    The pilot, who stands accused of 11 charges of manslaughter, was performing a stunt known as a 'Derry roll' — which is essentially a giant loop manoeuvre — when his aircraft slammed into the A27 motorway below, imploding into a fireball.


    Jurors were shown, for the first time, footage from the pilot's cockpit which recorded the moments leading up to the fatal incident. The pilot, Andrew Hill, miraculously escaped unscathed.

    The crash is alleged to have been caused by pilot error.

    Although the unfolding trial against Mr. Hill has consumed British news outlets, Shoreham was hardly the first, and will definitely not be the last, great aircraft tragedy of our time.


    Major Global Air Disasters

    2018

    Indonesia: On the 29th of October a Boeing 737 Max jet plummeted into the Java Sea after taking off from Jakarta. Tragically, all 189 passengers and crew aboard the aircraft were killed, and even a volunteer diver died while trying to recover the bodies of the victims. A preliminary report into the disaster carried out by the National Transport Safety Committee alleged that the airline, Lion Air, had allowed the plane to be used despite previously documenting technical problems with it. Investigations are still ongoing.

    Cuba: On May 18th another Boeing 737 passenger jet smashed into solid ground shortly after taking off from Jose Marti International Airport in the Cuban capital of Havana. 112 passengers were pulverised, while three woman survived. One in particular. Maylen Díaz Almaguer, sustained life-changing injuries: she reportedly spent 70 days in intensive care due to severe burns and a spinal injury that left her paraplegic. Eyewitnesses on the ground were widely quoted as saying that they saw the jet burst into flames in mid-air. The cause of the crash remains murky; while Cuban authorities blamed it on technical issues, a Mexican company that leased the jet alleged it was down to "human error."

    Algeria: A military plane collided with earth shortly after taking off near the Algerian capital of Algiers, stacking up a huge body count of 257 people, which included all 10 members of cabin crew. The overwhelming amount of those killed were Algerian military personnel and their families. The leadership of the Polisario Front, a group of separatists seeking to expel the Moroccan military from the Western Sahara region said that 30 of their people were aboard the craft and killed, including many children. According to the majority of reports, the accident was caused by a technical malfunction, a theory that would corroborate witnesses on the ground who said that they saw the plane's wing burst into flames just after it took off from Boufarik military airport. 

    2017

    Unlike its successor year, 2017 was reported to be the safest year in history for air travellers, with absolutely no passenger jet crashes, according to the Aviation Safety Network. 

    2016

    Russia: Christmas Day of 2016 was a sad day for the Russian military and nation as a whole. A Tu-154 jet plummeted into the Black Sea, killing all 92 passengers aboard. The crew included sixty-four members of the Russian armed forces' choir — as well as journalists and soldiers — who were on their way to provide Christmas entertainment to Russian servicemen in Syria. The dead included celebrated Russian conductor, Valery Khalilov, the lead figure of the ‘Alexandrov Ensemble' — also known as the ‘Red Army Choir' — which takes its name from the group's founder, Alexander Vasilyevich Alexandrov, who penned the music for the Russian national anthem. 

    Colombia: LaMia Flight 2933 which was transporting members of the Brazilian football club, Chapecoense, crashed in Colombia's mountainous Antioquia province, reportedly snatching the lives of 71 people, on 28th of November. Allegedly there were a total of six survivors, three of whom were players. The charter flight was taking the team and their entourage from Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia to Colombia when it ran out of fuel as an alleged consequence of poor flight planning. On top of that, investigations reportedly said that pilots failed to declare an emergency even after fuel levels became critically low. 

    France: On the 19th of May, then-French President Francois Hollande announced that an EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo that'd dropped off the radar earlier had crashed. The plane, which sank into the inky depths of the Mediterranean, saw all 67 people aboard killed in the incident. Nearly four weeks after the crash announcement was made, large sections of the plane were discovered on the seabed. An international tussle ensued over the cause of the crash, with Egyptian authorities suggesting that explosive elements had been discovered on the remains of some bodies, French authorities however threw those claims into question, citing an absence of sufficient evidence to corroborate the story. Then, in July 2018. France announced that the plane had likely been taken down by an unintended fire in the cockpit. 

    READ NOW: French Investigator Stifles Reports Explosion on Board Fatal EgyptAir Crash

    Despite it being quite difficult to comprehend the scale of human error and technical breakdown that occurred in these cases — ending the lives of hundreds of people — they are but the tip of the iceberg on a long list of such horrendous crashes.

    Other major cases that received little international media attention include the 2009 downing of a Caspian Airlines flight in the Northern mountains of Iran which was headed for Armenia, killing all 168 passengers. In 2007 in what became infamous for being Brazil's worst ever airline disaster, 199 people — 186 aboard the plane and 13 on the ground — were incinerated when a LATAM Airlines flight crashed on landing in Sao Paulo's Congonhas airport.     

    Tags:
    plane accident, plane crash, plane, plane crash, Russia, United Kingdom, Colombia, Algeria, Cuba, Indonesia, France
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