How does MH17 compare with previous plane disasters?

Remarkably all on board this Korean Air flight survived after it was shot down by Soviet Sukhoi fighters.
Remarkably all on board this Korean Air flight survived after it was shot down by Soviet Sukhoi fighters.

The deaths of 295 people aboard Flight MH17 is one of the worst post-war civilian airline incidents involving a plane brought down by a missile attack, gunfire or terrorist-related sabotage.

1954. Cathay Pacific VR-HEU

A Douglas DC-4 airline operated by Cathay Pacific, flying between Bangkok and Hong Kong was shot down by the People's Liberation Army Air Force. Ten people on board were killed.

1955. El Al Flight 402

A Lockheed L-049 Constellation on an international flight from Vienna to Tel Aviv via Istanbul, was shot down in Bulgarian airspace by two MiG-15 jets. Seven crew and 51 passengers were killed.

1973. Libyan Airlines Flight 114

A Boeing 727 scheduled flight from Tripoli via Bengazi to Cairo entered Israeli airspace.

It was intercepted by two Israeli Phantom jet fighters, refused to land, and was shot down. Only 5 survived of the 113 on board.

1978. Korean Air flight 902

Soviet Sukhoi fighters shot down a Korean civil airliner near Murmansk after it violated Soviet airspace and failed to respond to fighter jets. Remarkably nearly all the passengers on board survived an emergency landing on a frozen lake. Two people were killed.

1978. Air Rhodesia Flight RH 825 and Flight RH827

The Zimbabwe People's Liberation Army (Zipra) shot down two planes in 1978, both incidents involved ground-launched Stela missiles. The two flights were on the same route - Kariba to Salisbury (now called Harare). 10 survivors were murdered at one of the crash sites, in the other none of the 59 passengers and crew survived.

Itavia Airlines flight 780

On June 27, 1980, a passenger plane left the northern Italian city of Bologna for Palermo, in Sicily, but it never reached its island destination. Wreckage of the plane was found in the Tyrrhenian Sea. There were no survivors among the 81 who boarded. The plane crash is still the subject of innuendo and debate. Initial theories suggested a terrorist bomb blast on board, but subsequent investigations concluded the plane was likely caught in the midst of a dogfight between NATO fighter jets and Libyan MIGs. The inquiry into the crash said that investigations were deliberately obfuscated by members of the Italian military and secret service.

1983. Korean Air Flight 007

The Korean Boeing 727 was shot down by Soviet fighters near Sakhalin island. The deviation was caused by pilot error in configuring where the plane was. A US congressman, Larry McDonald was one of the 269 passengers killed. There were no survivors.

1988. Iran Air Flight 655

Near the end of the Iran-Iraq war, the Airbus A300 commercial flight was operating between Iran and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The USS Vincennes, a battle cruiser, fired a surface-to-air missile at flight 655. All 290 passengers and crew were killed. The Vincennes was in Iranian waters, and the US government said the ship believed it was under attack from Iran fighter jets.

The later attack on Pan Am 103 blown out of the skies above Lockerbie, is regarded as potential retaliation for the attack on flight 655.

Lionair flight 602

In 1998, a flight from the restive Tamil northern heartland of Sri Lanka to the capital Colombo disappeared with all 48 passengers. Wreckage of the aircraft was only discovered 14 years later, in 2012, by a Sri Lankan navy vessel. It's not certain how it crashed, but initial reports claimed the plane was shot down by the MANPAD batteries of the now defeated Tamil Tiger rebels.

Siberia Airlines 1812

A plane carrying passengers from Tel Aviv to the Siberian city of Novosibirsk plunged into the Black Sea on Oct. 4, 2001. All 78 people on board died. Mystery still surrounds the plane's crash, but it's likely it was brought down by an errant Ukrainian missile, though authorities in Kiev resolutely denied any involvement.

(Additional reporting Washington Post, Bloomberg)

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