2003 Airline safety and security review

This review includes all significant safety or security related occurrences from 2003. Numbered events involve the death of at least one airline passenger, and all events meet criteria set by AirSafe.com

  1. 8 January 2003; US Airways Express Beech 1900; N233YV; flight 5481; Charlotte, NC:
    The aircraft, which was on a scheduled domestic flight, crashed into a maintenance hanger at the airport shortly after it departed for a flight to Greenville, SC. Both pilots and all 19 passengers were killed in the crash. The aircraft was operated for US Airways Express by Air Midwest.
    US Airways/US Airways Express crashes
    Beech 1900 crashes

  2. 8 January 2003; Turkish Airlines RJ100; TC-THG; flight 634; Diyarbakir, Turkey:
    The aircraft had departed on a scheduled domestic flight from Istanbul to Diyarbakir, Turkey and crashed shortly before landing in Diyarbakir, a city near Turkey's border with Iraq. Four of the five crew members and 71 of the 75 passengers were killed in the crash.
    RJ70/RJ100 crashes
    Turkish Airlines crashes

  3. 9 January 2003; TANS Airlines F28; OB-1396; flight 222; near Chachapoyas, Peru:
    The aircraft had departed on a scheduled domestic flight from Chiclayo to Chachapoyas, Peru and crashed during approach in mountainous terrain shortly before landing. At the time of the crash, visibility was reduced by heavy rain and dense clouds. All four crew members and 42 passengers were killed in the crash.
    Fatal F28 Events

  4. 6 March 2003; Air Algérie 737-200; 7T-VEZ; flight 6289; near Tamanrasset, Algeria: The aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff on a scheduled domestic flight from Tamanrasset to Ghardaia. One of the engines reportedly caught fire during takeoff. Five of the six crew members and all 97 passengers were killed.
    Boeing 737 crashes
    Crashes for airlines of the Middle East and Africa

  5. 15 March 2003; Air China 737-300; en route Hong Kong to Beijing: In the 18 December 2003 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, the authors of a study concluded that five people who died from SARS most likely contracted the disease after exposure to an infected passenger during a three-hour flight from Hong Kong to Beijing. The 72-year-old male passenger who had SARS symptoms when he boarded the flight in Hong Kong was hospitalized after arrival in Beijing and died five days later.

    Investigations in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan revealed that a total of 20 passengers and two flight attendant contracted SARS due to their exposure on that flight. The 20 passengers and one flight attendant were in the economy section of the aircraft and the other fight attendant was in the first class section. There was a total of 112 passengers and eight crew members on the flight.

    One of those 20 infected passengers, who was one of the five from that flight that eventually died, also infected two passenger on a Thai Airways flight from Bangkok to Beijing flight on 23 March 2003. One of those two infected passengers later died.

    Sources:
    1. Olsen, S.J., Chang, H., Cheung, T.Y., et al, "Transmission of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome on Aircraft," New England Journal of Medicine, 349(25):2416-2422, 18 December 2003.
    2. Lakshmanan, I.A.R, "Air China Flight 112: Tracking the Genesis of a Plague," Boston Globe, 18 May 2003, sec. 1A, p. 1.

    Crashes for airlines of Asia and Australasia
    Air China plane crashes since 1988
    Background Information on SARS

  6. 23 March 2003; Thai Airways International; en route Bangkok to Beijing: In the 18 December 2003 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, the authors of a study concluded that five people who were on a 15 March 2003 Air China flight from Hong Kong to Beijing died from SARS after most likely contracting the disease from an infected passenger on the same flight. One of those five passengers infected two other passengers with SARS on this Thai Airways flight from Bangkok to Beijing on 23 March 2003. One of those two passengers later died of SARS.

    Source: Lakshmanan, I.A.R, "Air China Flight 112: Tracking the Genesis of a Plague," Boston Globe, 18 May 2003, sec. 1A, p. 1.

    Crashes for airlines of Asia and Australasia
    Crashes for airlines of Thailand Since 1970
    Background information on SARS

    8 May 2003; Ilyushin 76, UR-UCB; near Kinshasa, Congo: The aircraft, operated by the Ukraine government, was about 45 minutes into a non-scheduled domestic flight from Kinshasa to Lubumbashi with several hundred passengers when in the cargo hold area when the rear cargo ramp reportedly came open, leading to a rapid depressurization and the loss of dozens of passengers. The crew was able to return to Kinshasa and land. Reports from different news organizations give a varying number of passengers and victims. While no crew fatalities were mentioned and some passengers survived, the number of passengers killed ranged from less than 10 to over 200. This was not a regular airline flight and will not count toward AirSafe.com fatal event rates.

    26 May 2003; Ukrainian-Mediterranean Airlines Yak-42D, UR-42352; flight 4230; near Macka, Turkey: The aircraft, chartered by NATO's Maintenance and Supply Agency, had departed Kabul, Afghanistan and was inbound for a scheduled refueling stop at Trabzon airport when it crashed into high ground near Macka, Turkey. There was heavy fog in the area and the aircraft had attempted several landings prior to the crash. All 13 crew members and 62 passengers were killed. The passengers were all Spanish peacekeeping forces returning from a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan. This was not a regular airline flight and will not count toward AirSafe.com fatal event rates.
    Crashes for airlines of the former Soviet Union

  7. 8 July 2003; Sudan Airways 737-200C; ST-AFK; flight 139; near Port Sudan, Sudan: The aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff on a scheduled domestic flight from Port Sudan to Khartoum. The flight crew reported technical difficulties shortly after takeoff and the aircraft crashed about three miles (five km) from the airport. All 11 crew members and 105 of the 106 passengers were killed. The sole survivor was a three-year old boy, Mohamed al-Fateh , who suffered major injuries, including a severed right leg. The boy's mother was killed in the crash as well.
    Fatal Events with a sole survivor
    Fatal Events for Sudan Airways

  8. 25 December 2003; Union des Transports Africains (UTA) 727-200; 3X-GDO; flight 141; near Cotonou , Benin: The aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff on a scheduled international flight from Cotonou, Benin to Kufrah, Libya. The aircraft lifted off, but struck localizer antennas and a small building just off the end of the runway. After striking the airport perimeter fence, the aircraft crashed along the shoreline. Five of the 10 crew members and 136 of the 153 passengers were killed. The pilot was among the survivors. About 15 of the dead were Bangladeshi peacekeepers returning from missions in Sierra Leone and Liberia.
    Crashes with a sole survivor
    Boeing 727 plane crashes
    Crashes for airlines of the Middle East and Africa


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Most recent crashes


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Recent plane crashes
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2003 Airline safety and security review
http://airsafe.com/events/fatal03.htm -- Revised: 9 June 2015