Top 10 plane crashes by passengers killed

The following are the ten airliner crashes with the most passengers killed. This list include scheduled and non-scheduled airline flights and may include passenger fatalities due to hijackings, sabotage, or military action. These events are ranked by total number of passengers killed.

  1. 3,000+ - 11 September 2001; American Airlines and United Airlines: Four aircraft, two 767s departing from Boston, a 757 departing from Washington Dulles, and a 757 departing from Newark, NJ, were hijacked as part of a large-scale terrorist action. The 767s crashed into the two World Trade Center Towers in New York, causing the towers to burn out of control and collapse.

    One of the 757s crashed into the Pentagon, and the other 757 crashed in Pennsylvania before the hijackers could reach their intended target in the Washington, DC area. The death toll included 33 crew members and 214 passengers in the aircraft, 125 in the Pentagon, and over 2,700 dead and missing in New York. The 19 hijackers are excluded from this total.
    American Airlines plane crashes
    United Airlines plane crashes
    11 September 2001 Details

  2. 578 27 March 1977; KLM 747-200 and Pan Am 747-100; Tenerife, Canary Islands: The two aircraft had been scheduled to arrive at the Las Palmas airport, but were diverted to Tenerife after a bomb explosion at the Las Palmas airport. Because of limited visibility and communications difficulties between air traffic control and the KLM aircraft, the KLM 747 started its takeoff while the Pan Am aircraft was on the same runway. All 234 passengers and 14 crew were killed in the KLM 747. Nine of the 16 crew and 321 of the 380 passengers on the Pan Am flight were killed.
    KLM plane crashes
    747 plane crashes

  3. 520 12 August 1985; Japan Air Lines 747SR; Mt. Ogura, Japan: The aircraft had a sudden decompression that damaged hydraulic systems and the vertical fin. That damage also disabled the flight controls for the rudder and elevator. All 15 crew members and 505 of the 509 passengers were killed.
    Japan Air Lines plane crashes
    747 plane crashes

  4. 349 12 November 1996; Saudia 747-100; near New Delhi, India: The departing 747 had a midair collision with an inbound Kazakhstan Air Lines Ilyushin 76 cargo jet about seven minutes after the 747 had departed New Delhi. The collision occurred near Charkhi Dadri, about 60 miles (96 km) west of New Delhi. All 23 crew members and 289 passengers on the 747 were killed. The 10 crew members and 27 passengers on the Ilyushin were also killed.
    747 plane crashes

  5. 345 3 March 1974; THY DC10-10; near Paris, France: During climb, a rear cargo door which was improperly closed blew out. The resulting cabin decompression caused damage to the main cabin floor and to some control cables in the area. The crew was unable to control the aircraft and the plane crashed. All 333 passengers and 12 crew were killed.
    THY plane crashes
    DC10 plane crashes

  6. 329 23 June 1985; Air India 747-200; Atlantic Ocean, near the Irish coast: The flight, which originated in Toronto and was en route to Bombay, had a bomb explode on board near the Irish coast. The aircraft broke up in flight and crashed into the sea. All 307 passengers and 22 crew were killed.
    747 plane crashes

  7. 301 19 August 1980; Saudia L1011-200; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: The crew turned back shortly after takeoff after a fire broke out in the aft cargo compartment. The aircraft was able to execute a safe landing, but the crew was unable to open the emergency exits due to the smoke and fire. All 14 crew members and 287 passengers were killed.
    Saudia Arabian Airlines plane crashes
    L1011 plane crashes

  8. 290 3 July 1988; Iran Air A300; Persian Gulf, near Straits of Hormuz: Aircraft was shot down by a surface to air missile from the American naval vessel USS Vincennes. All 16 crew and 274 passengers were killed.
    Iran Air plane crashes
    A300 plane crashes

  9. 273 25 May 1979; American Airlines DC10-10; Chicago, USA: During the takeoff roll, the left engine and pylon separated from the wing. The crew continued the takeoff, but wing damage due to the engine separation also damaged the aircraft hydraulic system and caused retraction of some flight control surfaces. The aircraft rolled and crashed shortly after takeoff. All 258 passengers and 13 crew were killed. Two people on the ground were also killed.
    American Airliners plane crashes
    DC10 plane crashes

  10. 27021 December 1988; Pan Am 747-100; near Lockerbie, Scotland: A bomb detonated in the forward cargo compartment led to an in flight breakup of the aircraft. All 16 crew and 243 passengers perished. Eleven people on the ground were also killed.
    747 plane crashes
Top 10 plane crashes by passengers killed -- Revised: 17 November 2015