British Airways plane crashes since 1970


The following are either fatal events involving at least one passenger death or significant safety occurrences involving the airline. Excluded would be events where the only passengers killed were stowaways, hijackers, or saboteurs. The passenger fatalities in the numbered events may be due to accidents, hijackings, sabotage, or military action. The events that are not numbered may or may not include fatalities, and are included because they meet the criteria of a significant event as defined by AirSafe.com

  1. 22 November 1974; British Airways VC-10; Flight 870; Dubai, UAE: The aircraft was on an international flight from London, England to Singapore, and had stopped in Dubai. While there, four hijackers commandeered the aircraft. The aircraft was taken to Tripoli, Libya for refueling, and then to Tunis, Tunisia the following day. The hijackers surrendered after three days, but not before killing one of the hostages. The one hostage that was shot to death was the only fatality among the passengers, crew members, and a number of ground crew personnel who were taken hostage in Dubai.

  2. 10 September 1976; British Airways Trident 3B; Flight 476; near Zagreb, Yugoslavia: The aircraft had a midair collision with a Inex Adria DC9-32. All nine crew members and 54 passengers on the Trident were killed. All five crew members and 108 passengers on the DC9 were also killed. The probable cause of this event was failure of the Yugoslavian ATC system to provide adequate separation.

    24 June 1982; British Airways 747-200; Flight 9; near Jakarta, Indonesia: The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from London, England to Auckland, New Zealand. The crew inadvertently flew into a volcanic ash cloud from Mount Galunggung in west Java, Indonesia. The ash severely damaged all four engines, leading to the aircraft flying briefly without power. The crew was able to restart the engines after gliding out of the dust cloud. Although one engine subsequently failed a second time, the crew was able to make an uneventful emergency landing in Jakarta. None of the 15 crew members or 248 passengers were injured.
    Wikipedia Entry for this Incident

  3. 22 August 1985; British Airtours 737-200; Flight 28M; Manchester Airport, England: The crew rejected the takeoff due to an uncontained engine failure. The failure led to a punctured fuel tank and a fire that spread to the cabin. The accident killed 53 of 131 passengers and two of six crew members.
    Wikipedia Entry for this Accident

    10 October 2000; British Airways 757; near Amsterdam, Netherlands: The first officer was flying the aircraft on approach to Amsterdam between two storm cells when the aircraft was struck by lightning just below the first officer's windscreen. The first officer was stunned by the strike and later found it difficult to use his left arm. The captain continued the approach and the aircraft landed without incident. The first officer sustained a burn wound to his chest. None of the other 157 aircraft occupants were injured. Shortly after returning to duty, the first officer developed a medical condition that may be related to the strike.

    17 January 2008; British Airways 777; Flight 38; London, England: The aircraft touched down about 1000 feet short of runway 27L at London's Heathrow Airport. The aircraft skidded just over 1000 feet, tearing off its landing gear and coming to rest on the tarmac just to the right of the end of the runway. This was a scheduled international flight that was arriving from Beijing, China. There were at least two serious injuries, a broken leg and a concussion, but no fatalities among the 16 crew members and 136 passengers. This was the first serious accident for the 777 since it began commercial service in 1995.

    Map of Accident Area at London's Heathrow Airport


    The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), the lead agency in this investigation, has released several updates on the progress of the investigation, and has reported the following preliminary findings:

    • The flight was normal until the aircraft was on final approach and about two miles (3.2 km) from touchdown on runway 27L, when the aircraft was about 800 above the ground.
    • Engines initially responded to autothrust commands to increase thrust during final approach.
    • About seven seconds later, thrust on left engine reduced to similar levels.
    • The flight crew manually advanced throttles, but engines still did not respond.
    • Engines continued to produce thrust above flight idle but below the commanded level.
    • The aircraft touched down in a grassy area about 1,000 feet short of the runway.
    • There is no indication that the engines ingested either ice or birds, or that there was signficant amounts of water in the fuel.
    • The fuel temperature stayed signifcantly above its freezing point throughout the flight.
    • Recorded data indicate adequate fuel and autothrottle and engine controls performed as expected prior to, and after, reduction of thrust.

    For more information on the ongoing investigation, please review one or more of the podcasts listed below.


    Accident Investigation Update - March 2009

    Interim findings from the AAIB accident investigation that were released in March 2009 point to ice buildup in the fuel system as the key factor in the January 2008 crash of a British Airways 777 in London. The same month, the NTSB called for a redesign of the fuel system, and for the affected aircraft to have those changes installed within six months after the redesign is complete.


    Report on March 2009 AAIB and NTSB Updates

    Watch or listen to the full AirSafe.com report below, or read the transcript
    Audio: MP3 | VideoiPod/MP4 | WMV | YouTube

    For more videos, visit the AirSafe.com YouTube channel.


    Accident Investigation Update - 20 May 2008

    Listen to or watch the full AirSafe.com report below:
    Audio: MP3 | VideoiPod/MP4 | WMV | YouTube
    Detailed show notes, including transcript

    Update of 20 May 2008

    For more videos, visit the AirSafe.com YouTube channel.


    Accident Investigation Update - 20 February 2008

    Listen to or watch the full AirSafe.com report below:
    Audio: MP3 | VideoiPod/MP4 | WMV | YouTube
    Detailed show notes, including transcript

    Update of 20 February 2008

    For more videos, visit the AirSafe.com YouTube channel.


    Accident Investigation Update - 25 January 2008

    Listen to or watch the full AirSafe.com report below:
    Audio: MP3 | VideoiPod/MP4 | WMV | YouTube
    Detailed show notes, including transcript and timeline

    Update of 25 January 2008

    For more videos, visit the AirSafe.com YouTube channel.


    Accident Investigation Update - 23 January 2008

    Listen to or watch the full AirSafe.com report below:
    Audio: MP3 | VideoiPod/MP4 | WMV | YouTube
    Detailed show notes, including transcript and timeline

    Update of 23 January 2008

    For more videos, visit the AirSafe.com YouTube channel.


    Initial AirSafe.com report from 17 January 2008


    Other AirSafe.com Podcasts
    Fatal British Airways Events
    All AAIB Investigation Updates (PDF)
    Initial AAIB Statement on 18 January 2008 (PDF)
    Air Accidents Investigation Branch
    Wikipedia Entry for this Accident

British Airways plane crashes since 1970
http://airsafe.com/events/airlines/bab.htm -- Revised: 28 September 2014