This is a compilation of the worst plane crashes. From a mid-air airplane crash collision to a fatal pilot error, these aviation accidents are shocking!
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Number 7: The 1972 Andes Flight Disaster
October 13th, 1972: Uruguayan Flight 571 crashes into the Andes mountains, immediately killing 12 of the 45 passengers on board. Several others would die before they could be rescued. Over the next two months, the survivors endured harsh winter weather, avalanches, & resorted to extreme measures to survive.
The chartered flight departed on October 12th while transporting the Old Christians Club rugby union team along with members' friends & family from Montevideo, Uruguay heading for Santiago, Chile for a match. But due to bad weather conditions, the plane landed in Mendoza, Argentina to wait out the storm. It departed again the next day with its 45 passengers to finish its journey, which included flying over the Andes mountain range. Because of the weather, the pilot was unable to fly his plane over the mountains & instead, was forced to fly around them.
On that particular day, however, the cloud cover was so intense that it caused the pilot to miscalculate where the plane was in relation to the mountains. As a result, the plane crashed into the side of a mountain near Malargue, Argentina, instantly killing 12 of its passengers upon impact.
Within days, six more passengers—including the only doctor on board—died, leaving just 27 people alive. The survivors were left with very little food & water & virtually no winter clothing or footwear to protect them from the cold, snowy weather. Two medical students onboard the flight survived & were able to erect makeshift splints for various injuries, including broken arms & legs.
When the plane did not arrive to Santiago as expected, Chile, Argentina, & Uruguay sent out search parties to find the missing plane. But because the plane was white, it blended in with the snow, making it nearly impossible to find. The search team was called off after eight days, a fact that the survivors were aware of since they had a transistor radio & heard the news of the search team giving up.
Since the passengers had little food with no means of obtaining any more as there were no animals or vegetation to be found, the group resorted to eating the flesh of dead passengers to survive after much deliberation. Some of the passengers had reservations about doing this but eventually decided to do so in order to stay alive.
One more month had passed & the survivors were still stranded when suddenly, an avalanche killed eight more people. And by December 12th–nearly two months after the crash, two men from the group decided to take a dangerous journey seeking help for the group. The trek lasted over a week & involved scaling a mountain then hiking down into a valley. But Nando Parrado & Roberto Canessa ultimately succeeded in making contact with another human being.
On December 20th, 70 days after the crash, Parrado and Canessa came across three men on horseback, to whom they communicated their situation. The riders realized they were survivors of the crash & immediately sought help. In the end, the remaining survivors were rescued from the wreckage after an arduous rescue mission that concluded two days before Christmas. 16 passengers total survived 72 days after the crash.
Since this incredible event, books, movies, & documentaries have been published recalling the crash & the ensuing struggle for survival. A feature film entitled Alive: Miracle in the Andes was also produced in 1993.
Number 6: China Airlines Flight 611
May 25th, 2002: China Airlines Flight 611 is leaving Taiwan for Hong Kong when it disintegrates in mid-air, killing all 225 passengers on board. To this day, it remains the deadliest aviation accident in Taiwan's history.
The plane was flying at approximately 35,000 feet 20 minutes after takeoff when they lost contact with air traffic control. The plane disintegrated in mid-air soon after, with the wreckage crashing into the Taiwan Strait. The crew—which was comprised of Captain Ching-Fong Yi, first officer Yea Shyong Shieh, & flight engineer Sen Kua Choa—were all very experienced & did not appear to make any errors that led to the accident.
A recovery effort turned up the remains of 176 people, many of which were found floating in the ocean. An investigation into the