Biggest Disasters From The Last 60 Years
Ever heard of the phrase ‘Titanic Effect’?
It means that technology gets seemingly so good, that something is fail safe, much like they said the Titanic was before it sunk.
However, the reasoning is that the more complex technology gets, the more likely something is to fail. Aviation is no exception.
Passenger jets are now more sophisticated than ever, but the past decade has not seen a significant reduction in aviation accidents. Is the technology becoming too complex in our search for the perfect passenger vehicle?
The worst accidental environmental aviation disasters of the past 60 years:
These things tend to be very subjective – the focus of this article is on aviation accidents, loss of life and green environmental damage. Therefore acts of terrorism are not included. If they were, the attacks on the World Trade Centre in 2001 were the worst in terms of devastation, environmental impact and loss of life.
The Charkhi Dadri mid-air collision
Charkhi Dadri was the village in Eastern New Delhi, India in which a mid-air collision occurred on 12 November 1996. The aircraft involved were a Saudi Arabian Airlines Boeing 747, en route from New Delhi to Saudi Arabia, and a Kazakhstan Airlines Ilyushin from Shymkent, Kazakhstan, to New Delhi.
The cause of the accident was blamed on the failure of Kazakhstan Airlines’s pilot to follow air traffic control instructions, but it was later discovered there was radio interference and other ATC problems. The whole incident was packed with miscommunication and misdirection.
The Saudi Airlines jet broke up and disintegrated mid-air but the Ilyushin’s fuselage remained intact after landing in a field at Charkhi Dadri. There were no survivors. All 349 people on board both flights were killed, making it the world's deadliest mid-air collision.
The fire’s that raged and burned the local countryside and plant life were fierce, it was no surprise that there were no survivors. The crash happened in a tropical densely populated area, a miracle that no one was killed on the ground.
Japan Flight 123
The deadliest single-aircraft accident in history happened Monday, August 12, 1985. Japan Airlines Flight 123, a domestic flight from Tokyo to Osaka, got mechanical failure 12 minutes into the flight.
The plane lost internal compression resulting from an on board explosion. The explosion ripped off the plane’s vertical stabiliser, commonly known as the rear fin. The pilot could not control the vehicle despite trying to descend it, the plane clipped the top of the mountain – and flipped over onto its back.
30 minutes later it had crashed into Mount Takamagahara in near Tokyo. All cabin crew were killed and 505 passengers died.
Miraculously 4 women survived; a mother and her 8-year old daughter. Another survivor was 12 year old Keiko Kawakami, thrown from the plane and found in a tree.
Investigations revealed the aircraft was involved in a tailstrike incident at Osaka International Airport seven years earlier, damaging the aircraft's rear pressure bulkhead. It was not properly maintained.
The explosion was huge and tore through much of the uppermost areas of the peak where the plane rested and destroyed much of the forest and vegetation. Many fires burned out of control because the emergency services found accessing the site difficult. The clean-up was devastating.
Tenerife Airport Accident
The Tenerife airport incident on the Spanish Canary Islands is the deadliest accident in aviation history. It happened Sunday, March 27, 1977. Two Boeing 747 passenger aircraft collided on the runway of Los Rodeos Airport (now Tenerife North Airport).
After a bomb exploded in neighbouring Gran Canaria Airport caused massive disruption to inbound flights to the Islands, too many passenger jets were diverted to the smaller Los Rodeos Airport to cope with the traffic. The bomb was planted in a flower shop by a Spanish separatist movement which threatened to detonate more.
In heavy fog, after being forced into a traffic queue, the two 747’s attempted to take off at the same and crashed into one another. The investigation found that there were ATC communication deficiencies which changed the air-traffic control industry internationally as a result of the crash. All the controllers and also the pilots were at fault.
583 were killed, only 61 survived. 747’s are huge and carry approximately 422,000 pounds or 238,604 litres of fuel. The environmental damage to Tenerife took months to clean up and the aviation industry changed irrevocably.