Plane crashes in December since 1975

Every year, December brings both a number of major holidays and an increase in leisure air travel for vacations and family gatherings. The following list contains events are considered significant events by because of their aviation safety or security implications. Numbered events involve the death of at least one airline passenger.

  1. 1 December 1981; Inex Adria MD80; Ajaccio, Corsica: The aircraft collided with high ground in fog during approach. All 8 crew and 170 passengers were killed.

  2. 1 December 1993; Northwest Airlink (Express Airlines) BAe Jetstream 31; Hibbing, MN: The aircraft had a controlled flight into terrain about three miles (five km) from the runway threshold during an an excessively steep approach in conditions of snow and freezing fog. Both crew members and all 16 passengers were killed.

  3. 3 December 1990; Northwest DC9-14; Detroit, MI: The DC9 was taxiing in fog and strayed onto an active runway where it was hit by a departing Northwest 727. One of the four crew members and seven of the 40 passengers were killed. There were no fatalities on the second aircraft

  4. 3 December 1995; Cameroon Airlines 737; Douala, Cameroon: The aircraft was on a domestic flight and crashed in darkness about three miles (4.8 km) short of the runway in a swamp. The crew members reportedly aborted the first landing attempt and they were on their second approach when the accident occurred. It is estimated that five of the six crew members and 67 of the 71 passengers were killed.

  5. 4 December 1977; Malaysian Airline System 737-200; Near Johore Strait, Malaysia: The aircraft was hijacked and subsequently destroyed by an in flight explosion. All seven crew members and 93 passengers were killed.

  6. 4 December 2010; Dagestan Airlines (also known as South East Airlines); Tu154M; RA-85744; flight 372; Moscow, Russia: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Moscow to Makhachkala, Russia. The aircraft departed from Moscow's Vnukovo Airport, and about eight minutes later, while the aircraft was climbing through an altitude of about 6,500 m (21,000 ft), there were reportedly problems involving the fuel system. When the aircraft was about 80 km away from the departure airport and at about 9,000 m (29,000 ft) altitude, two of the three engines flamed out and the crew elected to divert to Moscow's Domodedovo Airport. The aircraft experienced a hard landing near the runway, and broke up after striking a large earthen mound beyond the end of the runway. Two of the 160 passengers were killed, and all nine crew members survived.
    Additional details on the crash
    Other Russian airliner crashes

  7. 5 December 1995; Azerbaijan Airways Tupolev 134B, near Nahicevan, Azerbaijan: Both of the aircraft's engines lost power shortly after takeoff. The crew made a forced landing about 3.7 miles (6 km) from the airport. Two of the eight crew members and 52 of the 76 passengers were killed.

  8. 6 December 1984; Provincetown-Boston Airlines Embraer Bandeirante, Jacksonville, FL: Due to an undetermined problem with the control system and the flight crew reaction to the anomaly, the elevator and horizontal stabilizer separated from the aircraft during initial climb. Both crew members and all 11 passengers were killed.

  9. 7 December 1983; Iberia Airlines; 727-200 and Aviaco DC9-32; Madrid, Spain: During takeoff under foggy conditions, the aircraft struck a DC9 that had not been cleared onto the runway. One of the nine crew members and 50 of the 84 passengers on the 727 were killed. All five crew members and 37 passengers on the DC9 were also killed.

  10. 7 December 1987; Pacific Southwest Airlines BAe146-200; near San Luis Obisbo, CA: A uniformed but recently fired PSA employee boarded aircraft with pistol and apparently killed his former manager and both pilots. All five crew members and the 37 other passengers were killed.

  11. 7 December 1995; Khabarosvsk Air Tupolev 154; 125 miles (200 km) east of Khabarovsk, Russia: The aircraft crashed due to as yet undetermined causes. All eight crew members and 89 passengers were killed.

    7 December 2005; American Airlines 757; Miami, Fl: The aircraft had arrived from Medellin, Colombia, and was on a roughly two hour stopover in Miami before continuing to Orlando. It is alleged that one of the passengers, a 44-year old U.S. citizen, claimed to have a bomb in his carry on luggage. Air marshals confronted the man on the jetway and shot him after he appeared to reach into his bag. The man died sometime later as a result of his wounds. No explosive was found in the bag. It was reported that this passenger had previously arrived in Miami on an American flight from Quito, Ecuador and had cleared U.S. customs before boarding the Orlando flight. No one else was injured in this event. This was the first time sine 9/11 that air marshals have fired a weapon on or near an aircraft.
    Boeing 757 plane crashes

  12. 8 December 1982; Aero Norte Sur Fokker F27; La Serena Airport, Chile: The aircraft had a controlled flight into a hill about a half mile (800 meters) short of the runway. Reportedly, visibility was reduced due to smoke from a fire fighting exercise in the area All four crew members and 42 passengers on this unscheduled flight were killed.

    8 December 2005; Southwest Airlines 737-700; Chicago, IL: The aircraft was on a scheduled flight from Baltimore to Chicago's Midway Airport. After landing, the crew was unable to stop the aircraft on the runway, going off the runway, through the airport's barrier fence and onto a nearby street. At some point during this event, the nose wheel collapsed. The aircraft struck at least two vehicles, with the impact causing fatal injuries to a six year old boy who was a passenger in one of the vehicles. None of the five crew members or 95 passengers were seriously injured. This was the first serious accident involving the 737-700.

    8 December 2008; USMC F/A-18D; Near San Diego, CA: A US Marine Corps F/A-18D jet based at the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station crashed during approach about two miles short of the runway. The pilot successfully ejected, but four people, two children, their mother, and grandmother were killed in one of the two houses destroyed by the jet. No one else on the ground was injured.

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  13. 9 December 1997; Sowind Air Bandeirante; Little Grand Rapids, Manitoba Canada: The aircraft crashed short of the runway during an approach in freezing rain and fog. One of the two crew members and three of the 15 passengers were killed.
    Bandeirante plane crashes

    9 December 2012; Starwood Management; Learjet 25; N345MC; near Iturbide, Mexico: A chartered private jet carrying the singer and entertainer Jenni Rivera crashed near Iturbide, Mexico while en route on a domestic flight from Monterrey, Mexico to the Toluca, Mexico airport near Mexico City. Both pilots and all five passengers, including Rivera, were killed in the crash. The Learjet was cruising at about 28,000 feet and entered into a high speed descent, crashing in mountainous terrain.
    More on this crash

  14. 10 December 2005; Sosoliso Airlines DC9-32; Port Harcourt, Nigeria:
    The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Abuja to Port Harcourt. During the approach, experienced reduced visibility and variable winds due to thunderstorm activity. The aircraft impacted the ground about 500 meters short of the runway and subsequently broke up and caught fire. In addition, the runway and approach lights were not on at the time of the crash. All seven crew members and 101 of the 103 passengers were killed.
    DC9 plane crashes

  15. 11 December 1994; Philippine Airlines 747-200; Pacific Ocean: A small bomb detonated under a seat, killing one of the 287 passengers.

  16. 11 December 1998; Thai Airways International A310-200; near Surat Thani, Thailand: During its third landing attempt, the aircraft crashed just outside the Surat Thani airport. The aircraft was on a domestic flight from Bangkok to Surat Thani. There were about 50 survivors among the 132 passengers and 14 crew members.
    A310 plane crashes
    Thai Airways International plane crashes

  17. 11 December 1999; SATA ATP; Azores, Portugal: The aircraft reportedly crashed on São Jorge island during a flight from São Miguel Island to Faial Island in the Azores. There were no survivors reported among the four crew members and 31 passengers.

  18. 12 December 1985; Arrow Air DC8-63, Gander, Canada: The aircraft stalled and crashed shortly after takeoff. All eight crew members and 248 passengers were killed.
    Note: This aircraft was on a charter flight carrying U.S. military personnel.

  19. 12 December 1986; Aeroflot Tupolev 134A, Scoenfeld Airport, East Germany: The cause of the crash was given as pilot error. All nine crew members and 61 of the 73 passengers were killed.

  20. 13 December 1987; Philippine Airlines Shorts 360, southern Philippines: The aircraft crashed for unspecified reasons. All four crew members and 11 passengers were killed.

  21. 13 December 1994; American Eagle (Flagship Airlines) BAe Jetstream Super 31; Morrisville, NC: The aircraft crashed about four miles (seven km) from the runway threshold during an approach at night and in icing conditions. The flight crew incorrectly thought that an engine had failed and subsequently followed improper procedures for single engine approach and landing. Both crew members and 13 of the 18 passengers were killed.

  22. 13 December 1997; Servicios y Transportes Aereos (STAP) Metro III; La Veriente, Bolivia: The aircraft crashed about 1000 feet (300m) beyond the end of the runway, possibly due to engine failure. One of the two crew members and nine of the 17 passengers were killed.

  23. 14 December 1992; Scribe Airlift Fokker F27; Goma, Zaire: The aircraft hit high ground during approach. All six crew members and 31 passengers were killed.

  24. 15 December 1997; Tajikistan Airlines Tupolev 154B; Sharjah, United Arab Emirates: The aircraft was on approach to Sharjah after a flight from Khodzhent, Tajikistan when it crashed in a river about 8 miles (13 km) from the airport. Eight of the nine crew members and all 77 passengers were killed.

  25. 15 December 2010; Tara Air; DHC-6 Twin Otter; 9N-AFX; Palunge Hill, Nepal: The aircraft was on a domestic flight from Lamidanda to Kathmandu, and crashed into Palunge Hill while en route to its destination. The crew reported an emergency situation shortly before the aircraft crashed in mountainous terrain. All three crew members and 19 passengers were killed. Tara Air is a subsidiary of Yeti Airlines

  26. 17 December 1997; AeroSvit Yak-42; near Salonica, Greece: The aircraft was inbound from Odessa, Ukraine to Salonica and was in a holding pattern when it impacted high ground. All eight crew members and 62 passengers were killed.

  27. 19 December 1997; SilkAir 737-300; near Palembang, Indonesia: The aircraft crashed in a river about 35 miles (56 km) north of Palembang while en route between Jakarta and Singapore. All seven crew members and 97 passengers were killed.
    Singapore Airlines and SilkAir plane crashes since 1970
    737 plane crashes

  28. 19 December 2005; Chalk's Ocean Airways Grumman G-73T Mallard; Miami, FL: The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from Miami to the island of Bimini in the Bahamas. Shortly after takeoff, the aircraft experienced an apparent structural failure that resulted in the right wing separating from the aircraft. The aircraft crashed into Biscayne Bay just off Miami Beach. Both crew members and all 18 passengers, including three infants,were killed.

  29. 20 December 1995; American Airlines 757-200; near Buga, Colombia: The aircraft crashed into Mt. San Jose at night at about the 9,000 foot level while descending into Cali, Colombia after its flight from Miami. All eight crew and 155 of the 159 passengers were killed in the crash. Colombian civil aviation authorities report that at the time of the accident, all navigational beacons were fully serviceable and that the aircraft voice and data recorders did not indicate any aircraft problems.
    757 plane crashes

    20 December 2008; Continental Airlines 737-500; Denver, CO: The aircraft, which was on a scheduled flight to Houston's Intercontinental Airport, departed the runway during takeoff and skidded across a taxiway and a service road before coming to rest in a ravine several hundred yards from the runway. The aircraft sustained significant damage, including a post crash fire, separation of one engine and separated and collapsed landing gear. There were about 38 injuries among the 110 passengers and five crew members, including two passengers who were seriously injured.
    737 plane crashes
    Continental plane crashes
    More about this event

  30. 21 December 1980; Aerovias Del Cesar Caravelle; Riohacha, Colombia: The aircraft exploded and crashed after takeoff. A bomb was suspected. All seven crew and 63 passengers were killed.

  31. 21 December 1987; Air Littoral Embraer Brasilia; Bordeaux, France: The aircraft crashed on approach in foggy conditions. All three crew members and 13 passengers perished.

  32. 21 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.

  33. 21 December 1992; Martinair DC10-30F; Faro Portugal: The aircraft landed in a storm, hit a wing tip, and departed the runway. Two of the 13 crew and 56 of the 327 passengers were killed.

  34. 21 December 1999; Cubana DC10-30; Guatemala City, Guatemala: The aircraft overran the wet runway and came to rest in a residential neighborhood adjacent to the airport. Eight of the 18 crew members and nine of the 296 passengers were killed. Nine people in the neighborhood were also killed.
    Cubana plane crashes
    DC10 plane crashes

  35. 22 December 1992; Libyan Arab Airlines 727-200; Near Tripoli, Libya: The aircraft collided with a MiG 23. There is no information on MiG crew or casualties, but all 10 crew members and 147 passengers on the 727 were killed.

    22 December 2009; American Airlines 737-800 (N977AN); Flight 331; Kingston, Jamaica: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Miami, FL to Kingston, Jamaica. The aircraft landed during a rainstorm, and was unable to stop on the runway. After departing the runway, the aircraft went beyond the airport fence, and crossed a road before coming to rest on a beach. The landing gear collapsed, both engines separated from the wings, and there were two major breaks in the fuselage, but all 148 passengers and six crew members survived. The landing was carried out with a slight tail wind
    American Airlines plane crashes
    737 plane crashes
    More about this event

  36. 22 December 2012; Kivalliq Air Fairchild Metro 3; C-GFWX; Flight 671; Sanikiluaq, Canada: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Winnipeg to Sanikiluaq, Canada, and crashed just short of the runway during a second landing attempt. There was limited visibility due to darkness and blowing snow at the time of the crash. Both crew members survived, but one of the seven passengers, a six-month-old boy being held in his mother's lap, was killed.

  37. 23 December 1978; Alitalia DC9-32; near Palermo, Italy: The aircraft crashed into the sea about two miles (3.2 km) short of the runway during its approach. The accident occurred in darkness and poor weather. Failure of the crew to follow correct approach procedures also contributed to the crash. All five crew members and 103 of 124 passengers were killed.
    DC9 lane crashes

  38. 23 December 1979; THY F28-1000; near Ankara, Turkey: The aircraft had a catastrophic in flight structural failure due to severe turbulence. Three of the four crew members and 36 of the 39 passengers were killed.
    Fokker F28 plane crashes

  39. 23 December 1980; Saudia L1011-200; HZ-AHJ; flight 162; Arabian Gulf, near Saudi Arabia: The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from Dhahran, Saudi Arabia to Karachi, Pakistan, and during the climb phase of the flight, while the aircraft was off the coast of Qatar, a fatigue failure of a main landing gear inboard wheel flange resulted in the rupture of the aircraft's pressure hull and a subsequent explosive decompression. Two of the 288 passengers were ejected out of the aircraft as a result of the decompression. None of the 20 crew members were killed.
    L1011 plane crashes
    More about this event
    Saudi Arabian Airlines plane crashes

  40. 24 December 1994; Air France A300; Algiers Airport, Algeria: Hijackers killed three of the 267 passengers. Later, commandos retook the aircraft and killed four hijackers.
    A300 plane crashes

  41. 24 December 1999; Indian Airlines A300; near Katmandu, Nepal: The flight was hijacked shortly after takeoff. The hijackers killed one of the 173 passengers, but none of the 11 crew members.
    A300 plane crashes

  42. 25 December 1976; Egyptair 707; Bangkok, Thailand: The aircraft crashed into a textile mill during approach. All nine crew members and 43 passengers were killed. Also killed were 20 people on the ground.

  43. 25 December 1986; Iraqi Airways 737-200; Over Saudi Arabia: The aircraft was en route between Iraq and Jordan when hijackers set off grenades and started a gunfight with security forces on board the aircraft. The aircraft crashed near Arar Saudi Arabia, killing 67 of the 107 passengers.
    737 plane crashes

  44. 25 December 1999; Cubana Yak42; near Valencia, Venezuela: The aircraft was approaching Valencia after a flight from Havana when the aircraft struck high ground about 10 miles (16 km) southeast of Valencia. All 12 crew members 10 passengers were killed.
    Cubana plane crashes

  45. 25 December 2003; Union des Transports Africains (UTA) 727-200; near Cotonou , Benin: The aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff on a scheduled flight from Cotonou, Benin to Beirut, Lebanon. The aircraft reportedly struck a small building shortly after takeoff and crashed just outside the airport and along the shoreline. Of the 10 crew members and 151 passengers on board, about 140 were killed. The pilot was among the survivors. About 15 of the dead were Bangladeshi peacekeepers returning from missions in Sierra Leone and Liberia.
    with a sole survivor plane crashes
    727 plane crashes
    Plane crashes for Airlines of the Middle East and Africa

    25 December 2009; Northwest Airlines A330-300 (N820NW); Flight 253; near Detroit, MI: A passenger on a Northwest Airlines A330-300(N820NW) apparently attempted to detonate an explosive device while the aircraft was approaching Detroit. Flight 253 was an international flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, and early reports are that a passenger, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian national, allegedly had the device strapped to one of his legs, and that the device was triggered during descent (about 20 minutes before landing) and started a small fire. The flight, operated by Northwest Airlines using an Airbus 330-300 aircraft with 278 passengers and 11 crew members on board, landed safely, and the suspect, the only person injured, was transported to a local hospital for treatment of serious burns.

    Other Northwest Airlines plane crashes and serious incidents
    A330 plane crashes
    More about this event

  46. 25 December 2012; Air Bagan Fokker 100; XY-AGC; Flight 011; Heho, Myanmar: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Mandalay to Heho, Myanmar, hit a set of power lines during a landing attempt, and crashed about a kilometer short of the runway. There was fog in the vicinity of the airport at the time of the crash. The aircraft broke up and there was a post-crash fire. All six crew members survived, but one of the 65 passengers was killed. A person on the ground was also killed.
    Fokker 100 plane crashes
    Aviation Herald article on crash

  47. 26 December 1989; United Express (NPA) BAe Jetstream 31; Pasco, WA: A combination of an excessively steep and unstabilzied ILS approach, improper air traffic control commands, and aircraft icing caused the aircraft to stall and crash short of the runway during a night approach. Both crew members and all four passengers were killed.
    Jetstream plane crashes

  48. 28 December 1978; United Airlines DC8; Portland, OR: The aircraft ran out of fuel while holding for landing and crashed landed. Of the 184 occupants, two crew members and eight passengers were killed.

  49. 28 December 1997; United Airlines 747-100; over Pacific Ocean near Japan: The aircraft encountered severe turbulence during cruise about two hours after departing Japan. One of the 346 passengers was killed. None of the 23 crew members were killed but three sustained serious injuries.
    United Airlines plane crashes since 1970
    747 plane crashes

    28 December 2011; Kyrgyzstan Airlines Tu134A; EX-020; flight 16; Osh, Kyrgyzstan: The aircraft was on scheduled domestic flight from Bishkek to Osh, Kyrgyzstan. The airplane reportedly landed hard rolled over, broke up, and caught fire. The right wing was completely separated from the aircraft, and the aircraft came to rest inverted, but all of the occupants were able to escape. There were no fatalities among the 95 passengers and six crew members, but there were at least 31 injuries. At the time of the crash, airport conditions were foggy with reduced visibility.
    More on this event

  50. 29 December 1994; THY Turkish Airlines 737-400; Near Van, Turkey: The aircraft hit a hill four km from the airport during the plane's fourth landing attempt. Six of the seven crew members and 49 of the 55 passengers were killed
    737 plane crashes

    29 December 2012; Red Wings Airlines; Tupolev 204-100; RA-64047; flight 9268; Moscow, Russia: The aircraft was on an unscheduled repositioning flight from Pardubice, Czech Republic to Moscow, Russia. After touching down, the aircraft overran the runway, and collided with an embankment next to a highway, causing the aircraft to break up. While various pieces of aircraft wreckage struck cars on the adjacent highway, no one on the ground was killed (See video below).

    Five of the eight crew members were killed. It had been snowing prior to the crash, and there was a significant crosswind at the time of the landing.
    Plane crashes in Russia and the former Soviet Union

  51. 28 December 2014; AirAsia A320-216; PK-AXC; flight QZ8501; Java Sea: The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight between Surabaya, Indonesia and Singapore, and contact was lost while the airliner was en route. Shortly before contact was lost, the crew requested an altitude change and a deviation from their planned route in order to avoid weather. There were no survivors from among the 155 passengers and seven crew members.
    Other A320 crashes
    AirAsia crashes

    Recovery of the aircraft data recorders

Other Years
1996, 1997, 1998, 1999

2000, 2001,, 2002, 2003, 2004
2005 , 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009

2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

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Plane crashes in December since 1975 -- Revised: 25 November 2015