Deliberate crashes by airliner pilots and other insiders

The following events include crashes of commercial airliners where the cause or the suspected cause was the deliberate action of a flight crew member or other airline insider with extensive access to aircraft and to areas where the general public is not allowed. The following list includes events since 1980. The numbered events represent a crash, and the events without numbers represent an attempted crash.

  1. 8 February 1982; Japan Airlines DC8-60; Tokyo Bay, Japan: The aircraft was on a domestic scheduled flight from Fukuoka to Tokyo, Japan. During final approach to Tokyo's Haneda Airport, the captain deliberately disengaged the autopilot when the aircraft was at an attitude of less than 200 feet, and flew the aircraft into the bay. The first officer was unable to counteract the captain's control inputs, and the aircraft crashed into the sea short of the runway. All of the eight crew members survived, but 24 of the 166 passengers were killed. It was later reported that the captain had been suffering from schizophrenia.
    Wikipedia entry for flight 350
    JAL plane crashes

    7 April 1994; Federal Express DC-10-30; flight 705; near Memphis, TN: Auburn Calloway, an off duty Federal Express second officer, was riding in a courier seat outside the cockpit of a Federal Express DC-10. Calloway was the lone passenger on this Memphis to San Jose flight. Shortly after takeoff, Calloway entered the flight deck and attacked the crew with a pair of hammers. During the ensuing bloody struggle, the first officer and flight engineer were able to force Calloway out of the cockpit while the captain put the aircraft through a series of extreme dives and turns in an effort to knock Calloway off balance. For a short time, the aircraft was on autopilot as the entire three person crew attempted to get Calloway out of the cockpit. The captain was able to return the aircraft safely to Memphis while the other two crew members continued the struggle all the way to the ground. All of the occupants were injured, and only the captain escaped serious injury.

    Calloway also had other weapons - a spear gun, a hunting knife, and two other hammers - on the aircraft. There was also a note that indicated that Calloway intended to commit suicide. Calloway's attack also occurred one day before a scheduled personnel hearing with his superiors, reportedly concerning allegations of false information on his job application. Calloway is currently a long term resident of a federal corrections facility.
    Wikipedia entry for flight 705
    Other DC-10 Plane Crashes

    The Discovery Channel Canada show Mayday documented the attempted takeover in the episode titled "FedEx Flight 705 - Fight For Your Life."

  2. 21 August 1994; Royal Air Maroc ATR 42-300; CN-CDT; flight 630; near Tizounine, Morocco: Shortly after takeoff and while flying at about 16,000 feet (4880 meters), the captain apparently disengaged the autopilot and put the aircraft into a steep dive. The first officer, who was in the cockpit, was not able to counter the actions of the captain. The aircraft impacted the ground, killing all four crew members and 40 passengers. While the initial investigation pointed to suicidal actions by the pilot, the pilot's union found no evidence of suicidal behavior on the part of the pilot.
    Wikipedia entry for flight 630
    ATR plane crashes

  3. 19 December 1997; SilkAir 737-300; 9V-TRF; flight 185; near Palembang, Indonesia: While the aircraft was in cruise at 35,000 ft, the flight recorders stopped recording, one after the other, and then the aircraft suddenly started to descend. No emergency message was transmitted by the flight crew before or during the descent. 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. The evidence was consistent with a deliberate manipulation of the flight controls by one of the pilots, and the ensuing investigation was not able to identify any technical problem that would explain the accident, but the official report did not definitively state that this was a deliberate action.
    Wikipedia entry for flight 185
    Silkair NTSC accident report
    Boeing 737 plane crashes

  4. 11 October 1999; Air Botswana ATR 42-300; A2-ABB; Gaborone, Botswana: An Air Botswana pilot, who had been grounded for medical reasons, took off alone in an Air Botswana ATR42 airliner, and crashed it into two of the airline's other ATR42s on the ground. Fortunately, there was no one else in the other two aircraft. The pilot was the only person killed in this event.
    Wikipedia entry for this event
    ATR plane crashes

  5. 31 October 1999; EgyptAir 767-300ER; ; flight 990; Atlantic Ocean near Nantucket Island, MA: Radar and radio contact with the aircraft was lost shortly after the aircraft departed JFK Airport in New York on a flight to Cairo. The aircraft crashed into the ocean about 60 miles (96 km) south of Nantucket Island. The aircraft was in cruise at flight level FL330. The crew on this flight consisted of the captain, and two first officers, one of whom acted as a relief flight crew member. The first officer who began the flight left the cockpit, and the relief first officer took his place. Eight minutes later, the captain left the cockpit, leaving the relief first officer alone in the cockpit. The autopilot was disengaged, and the flight data recorder indicated that the aircraft entered a rapid descent. The engines were shut down during the descent.

    The captain returned to the cockpit, and while the aircraft did regain some altitude at some point, it descended a second time, eventually crashing into the Atlantic Ocean. were shut down. The NTSB determined that the aircraft departed from controlled flight and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean as a result of flight control inputs by the first officer. All 14 crew members and 203 passengers were killed.
    Wikipedia entry for flight 990
    Egyptair flight 990 NTSB report
    Boeing 767 plane crashes

  6. 29 November 2013; LAM Mozambique Airlines Embraer 190; C9-EMC; flight 470; Bwabwata National Park, Namibia: The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from Maputo, Mozambique to Luanda, Angola. While the aircraft was cruising at 38,000 feet, the captain apparently programmed the aircraft to descend to 592 feet, which was below ground level. Engine power was also set to idle, and the speedbrakes were manually deployed. These actions put the aircraft into a rapid descent, at one point triggering an overspeed warning. On three occasions, different altitudes were selected to order a descent to the ground with autopilot. The cockpit voice recorder showed several aural warnings, as well as noises of repeated knocking and calls, corresponding to attempts, presumably by the first officer, to get back into in the cockpit. The captain, the other five crew members, and all 27 passengers were killed in the crash.
    Wikipedia entry for flight 470
    Preliminary accident investigation report - 1 December 2014
    Other Embraer plane crashes

  7. 24 March 2015; Germanwings A320-200; D-AIPX; flight 4U9525; near Barcelonnette, France: The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from Barcelona, Spain to Düsseldorf, Germany. About a half hour after takeoff, while at a cruising altitude of 38,000 feet, the aircraft began losing altitude, and crashed about ten minutes later. The investigative authorities suspect that the first officer deliberately crashed the aircraft. All six crew members and 144 passengers were killed.
    Wikipedia entry for flight 9525
    Preliminary report of the safety investigation - 6 May 2015
    Lufthansa plane crashes
    A320 plane crashes

    10 August 2018; Horizon Air Dash 8-402Q; N449QX; near Seattle, WA The aircraft was taken on an unauthorized flight by Richard Russell, a ground service operator with the airline who not certified as a pilot, and did not have authorization to be in the aircraft. After departing from Seatac Airport, Russell flew the aircraft for about 75 minutes in an area south of Seattle, performing number of extreme maneuvers, before crashing on an island in Puget Sound about 40 kilometers south of the departure airport. Russell, the sole occupant of the aircraft, was killed.
    Dash 8 plane crashes
    Horizon Air plane crashes
    More about this event

Related information
Recent plane crashes worldwide
Plane crashes by airline
Plane crashes by airliner model
Plane crash rates by model

Deliberate crashes by airliner pilots -- Revised: 14 August 2018