Is This the Deadliest Week for Airline Accidents?

A spate of airline accidents over the past week ranks this among the deadliest for the commercial aviation industry since the 9/11 attacks. Since July 17, a staggering 346 people were killed in two separate incidents, with another 118 killed when a plane crashed in Mali on Thursday.

That's more than 450 fatalities in three crashes in eight days, though single disasters have taken more lives. The deadliest commercial accident occurred on March 27, 1977, when two Boeing jumbo jets collided on a runway in Spain's Canary Islands, killing a combined 574 people. The deadliest single plane crash happened on Aug. 12, 1985, when a Japan Airlines flight suffered mechanical failure after departing Tokyo, killing 520 on board. Four people survived.

Overall in 2014, there have been at least 703 fatalities, including the March disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, with 239 people on board. But while this year’s death toll is well ahead of last year, when there were 256 casualties, there have been far deadlier years, according to the Aviation Safety Network database. More than 2,300 died in commercial airline accidents in 1973. More recently, the industry saw 1,074 deaths in 2005.




— Erik Ortiz