Plane Crashes with a Sole Survivor

The following events are those from 1970 to the present involving either jet airliners or selected large turboprop driven airliners where there was only a single survivor.


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  1. 9 August 1970; LANSA Lockheed L-188 Electra; Flight 502; Cuzco, Peru to Pucallpa, Peru: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Cuzco to Lima, Peru. During takeoff, the number three engine lost power. After lifting off, the aircraft crashed during an attempted return to the airport. All eight crew members, and 91 of the 92 passengers were killed. Two farmers on the ground were also killed. A 26-year-old passenger, Juan Loo, survived. One newspaper report identified this person as a copilot. The Peruvian government subsequently suspended the airline's operating license for 90 days.
    Wikipedia article on this event

  2. 24 December 1971; LANSA Lockheed L-188 Electra; Flight 508; en route Lima, Peru to Pucallpa, Peru: About forty minutes after takeoff, the aircraft entered an area of strong turbulence and lightning. About 20 minutes later, lightning struck the aircraft and caused a fire in the right wing. The right wing and part of the left wing separated, and the remainder of the aircraft broke up.

    All six crew members and 91 of the 92 passengers were killed. The sole survivor was a 17-year-old girl, Juliane Koepcke, who remained strapped in her seat and fell about 10,000 feet (3 km) into the jungle. She then made her way through the jungle for about 10 days before being rescued. Her mother was also killed in the crash.
    Wikipedia article on this event

    While this crash and the previous LANSA crash in this list were sole survivor event, neither fit the criteria of a significant event as defined by AirSafe.com.

  3. 26 January 1972; JAT DC9-32; Flight 364; near Hermsdorf, Czechoslovakia: The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from Copenhagen, Denmark to Zagreb, Yugoslavia. The aircraft suffered an in-flight breakup due to a bomb. Five of the six crew members and all 22 passengers were killed. The sole survivor was a Vesna Vulovic, a cabin crew member who reportedly suffered multiple fractures after falling to the ground inside of the tail section.
    Fatal DC9 Events
    Wikipedia article on this event

  4. 22 July 1973; Pan Am 707-300; flight 816; near Papeete, French Polynesia: The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from Papeete, French Polynesia (Tahiti) to Honolulu, HI. Shortly after takeoff, the aircraft entered a left turn, and descended into the sea at an excessive bank angle. All 10 crew members and 78 of the 79 passengers were killed.
    Wikipedia article on this event

  5. 30 May 1979; Downeast Airlines DHC-6 Twin Otter; Flight 46; Boston, MA: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Boston, MA to Rockland, ME. The aircraft struck several trees and crashed. Both crew members and 15 of the 16 passengers were killed.
    Wikipedia article on this event

  6. 21 January 1985; Galaxy Airlines Lockheed L-188 Electra; flight 203, near Reno, NV: The aircraft was on a charter flight from Reno to Minneapolis. Shortly after takeoff, aicraft vibrabration caused the crew to reduce power and execute a return to the airport. Shortly after reducing power, the aircraft lost airspeed and entered a stall, crashing near the airport. All six crew and 64 of 65 passengers were killed. Three people initially survived the accident, but died within a month of the accident. The sole survivor was George Lamson, a 17-year old boy who was thrown from the wreckage.
    Wikipedia article on this event

  7. 3 January 1987; Varig 707-300; Flight 797, near Abidjan, Ivory Coast: The aircraft had an engine problem shortly after a night takeoff for an international flight from Abidjan to Rio de Janeiro. The aircraft crashed about 11 miles (18 km) from the airport. All 12 crew members and 38 of the 39 passengers were killed. The sole survivor was Neuba Tessoh, reportedly an Ivory Coast university professor.
    Wikipedia article on this event

  8. 16 August 1987; Northwest MD82; Flight 255; Detroit, USA: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Detroit, MI to Phoenix, AZ. The crew neglected to properly set flaps for takeoff and a takeoff warning system that would have warned the crew of this problem was not working. As a result of the flap setting, the aircraft was unable to gain sufficient airspeed after taking off. The aircraft, struck several light poles and a building before crashing onto a nearby highway. All six crew and 148 of 149 passengers were killed. Two people on the ground were also killed. The sole survivor was Cecilia Cichan, a four-year-old girl. The girl's mother, father, and six-year-old brother, were also killed in the crash.
    Wikipedia article on this event
    Fatal MD80 Events

  9. 14 November 1992; Vietnam Airlines Yak 40; Flight 474; Nha Trang, Vietnam The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Nha Trang. During its approach to Nha Trang, it deviated from its assigned airway and struck a ridge. All six crew members and 24 of the 25 passengers were killed. A rescue team did not find either the crashed aircraft or the injured sole survivor, a woman named Annette Herfkens, for eight days.
    Extensive details on the accident
    Fatal Events for Airlines of Asia

  10. 20 November 1993; Avioimpex Yak 42D; near Ohrid, Macedonia The aircraft was on a charter flight flight from Geneva, Switzerland to Skopje, Macedonia, but diverted to Ohrid due to weather at Skopje. The aircraft subsequently crashed into Mount Trojani near Ohrid. All eight crew members and 115 of the 116 passengers were killed.

  11. 17 March 1995; Intercontinental Colombia DC9-10; South of Cartegena, Colombia: The aircraft crashed in marsh 37 miles (60 km) from the airport. All five crew members and 46 of the 47 passengers were killed. The sole survivor was Erika Delgado, a nine-year old girl, who suffered a broken arm. Her parents and younger brother also died in the crash.
    Fatal DC9 Events

  12. 3 September 1997; Vietnam Airlines Tu-134B; Flight 815; Phnom Penh, Cambodia: The aircraft was arriving from Ho Chi Minh City during heavy rain and crashed about one half mile (800 meters) short of the runway. All six crew members and 59 of the 60 passengers were killed. The lone survivor was a small child, reportedly a one-year-old boy.
    Fatal Events for Airlines of Asia

  13. 15 December 1997; Tajikistan Airlines Tupolev 154B; Flight 3183; 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.
    Fatal Events for Airlines of the former Soviet Union

  14. 6 March 2003; Air Algérie 737-200; near Tamanrasset, Algeria: The aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff on a 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.
    Fatal Events for Airlines of the Middle East and Africa

  15. 8 July 2003; Sudan Airways 737-200C; near Port Sudan, Sudan: The aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff on a 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 burns and a severed right leg. The boy's mother was killed in the crash as well.
    Fatal 737 Events
    Fatal Events for Airlines of the Middle East and Africa

  16. 27 August 2006; Delta Connection (Comair) CRJ-100; Flight 5191; Lexington, KY: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Lexington, KY to Atlanta, GA. The aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff, about one half mile (800 m) from the end of the departure runway. The event occurred shortly before sunrise, and there was no reported precipitation at the time of the event. The aircraft took off on a shorter runway that is typically used by smaller private aircraft rather than the airport's main runway. Two of the three crew members and all 47 passengers were killed. The sole survivor was first officer James Polehinke.
    Fatal events involving Delta Airlines
    Fatal events Canadair CRJ aircraft

  17. 8 October 2008; Yeti Airlines; DHC-6 Twin Otter; 9N-AFE; flight 103; Lukla, Nepal: The aircraft was on a domestic flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, Nepal. During the landing, the aircraft struck some rocks, crashed, and caught fire. Two of the three crew members and all 16 passengers ere killed. The sole survivor was the captain.

  18. 30 June 2009; Yemenia Airlines; A310-300; Flight 626; near Moroni, Comoros Islands: The aircraft was on a flight from SanaĠa, Yemen to Moroni, Comoros Islands with 142 passengers and 11 crew on board. The aircraft crashed in the sea near the town of Mitsamiouli, which is on the main island of Grande Comore, in the early morning hours of June 30th. One passenger, a twelve-year-old girl named Bahia Bakari, was rescued about 10 hours after the crash, and is the sole survivor of this plane crash. The girl's mother was also killed in the crash.
    More Accident Details
    Fatal Events for Airlines from Africa and the Middle East
    Fatal A310 Plane Crashes
    Yemenia Airlines Wikipedia page

  19. 12 May 2010; Afriqiyah Airways; A330-200; Flight 771; near Tripoli, Libya: The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB) to Tripoli, Libya (TIP) with 93 passengers and 11 crew on board. All 11 crew members and 92 of the 93 passengers were killed. The aircraft crashed short of the runway during its landing attempt. The sole survivor was a nine-year-old Ductch boy, Ruben van Assoouw.
    More Crash Details
    Fatal Events for Airlines from Africa and the Middle East
    Fatal A330 Plane Crashes
    Afriqiyah Airways Wikipedia page

  20. 25 August 2010; Filair; Let 410; 9Q-CCN; Bandundu, Democratic Republic of Congo: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Kinshasa to Bandundu, and during its approach to Bandundu it crashed into a house about a mile from the airport. All three crew members and 18 of the 19 passengers were killed.
    Sole survivor plane crashes
    Wikipedia entry about this event

  21. 4 April 2011; Georgian Airways Canadair CRJ-100; 4L-GAE; flight 834; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DNC): The aircraft was on a domestic unscheduled flight from Kisangani to N'Djili airport in Kinshasa, and was attempting an instrument approach to runway 24 around 14:00L during heavy rain and under low visibility conditions. The aircraft missed the runway, broke up, caught fire , and crashed into a forest while en route to its destination. There was one survivor among the four crew members and 29 passengers.

    At the time of the crash, the airplane operated on behalf of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). Because this was not a regular airline flight, this crash was not counted as a fatal event as defined by AirSafe.com.
    CRJ plane crashes

  22. 6 September 2011; Aerocon; Metro III; CP-2548; flight 238; near Trinidad, Colombia: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Santa Cruz to Trinidad, Colombia, and crashed in the jungle during the approach to Trinidad. The crew was reportedly executing a non-precision approach. Both crew members and six of the seven passengers were killed. The sole survivor was found about a day after the crash.

  23. 7 September 2011; Yak Service Yak-42D; RA-42434; Yaroslavl, Russia: The aircraft was on a nonscheduled international flight from Yaroslavl, Russia to Minsk, Belarus when it crashed shortly after taking off from Yaroslavl Airport. The aircraft apparently ran off the runway took off several hundred meters beyond the end of the runway. After lifting off, the aircraft struck a radio mast about 450 meters from the end of the runway, and crashed at the edge of the Volga River. Seven of the eight crew members, and all 37 passengers were killed. Among the passengers were the coaching staff and players of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl professional hockey team. The team included several former NHL players as well as several members of the Russian national hockey team.
    Wikipedia entry on this crash
    Fatal crashes of airlines of the former Soviet Union

Additional Information
Wikipedia has a more extensive list of sole survivor crashes that includes smaller aircraft, military and private aircraft, and events dating back to the 1930s.

Plane Crashes with a Sole Survivor
http://www.airsafe.com/events/survivor.htm -- Revised: 10 December 2011