1998 Airline safety and security review

This review includes important safety or security related occurrences from 1998. There are two types of events in this review, numbered events and significant events. Numbered events must meet the following criteria:

  • There is at least one passenger fatality,
  • The flight was open to the general public, and
  • The aircraft was a large jet or turboprop driven model that is typically used in airline service.

Significant events are those that don't meet the criteria for a numbered event, but would likely be of interest to airline passengers and the aviation safety and security community. These events may include non-fatal airline accidents, events unrelated to an airline flight, hijackings, military actions, criminal activities, or acts of sabotage.

Definitions used by AirSafe.com

  1. 4 January 1998; Olympic Airways 747; over Atlantic Ocean:
    Prior to the flight from Athens to New York, a passenger who had asthma and a history of sensitivity to secondhand smoke requested seating in the non-smoking area of the aircraft. Once onboard, the passenger's family discovered that their assigned seats were three rows ahead of the economy class smoking section. This smoking section was not partitioned off from the non-smoking section. Prior to takeoff and during the flight, one of the passenger's family members made three requests of the cabin crew to switch seats, but the cabin crew did not arrange for a switch into one of the 11 available unoccupied seats on the aircraft. Several hours into the flight, the passenger suffered a reaction to the ambient smoke and died.

    A US District Court determined that exposure to ambient second-hand smoke was the primary cause of the passenger's death. The US Supreme Court, in a decision made on 24 February 2004 (case 02-1348), held that this event constituted an accident under Article 17 of the Warsaw Convention, an international treaty that among other things defines an accident as something that is an “unexpected or unusual event or happening that is external to the passenger.” There were 411 passengers on the flight.
    747 plane crashes
    Olympic Airlines plane crashes since 1970
    US Court of Appeals case 00-17509, 12 December 2002

  2. 27 January 1998; Myanma Airways F27, Thandwe, Myanmar: The aircraft apparently had a number two engine failure during takeoff, veered off the runway, and caught fire. There were 14 deaths among the 41 passengers and four crew members.

  3. 2 February 1998; Cebu Pacific Air DC9-32; near Claveria, Philippines: The aircraft was descending toward Cagayan de Oro on a flight from Tacloban when the aircraft apparently crashed about 150 feet (93 m) from the top of Mt. Sumagaya. All five crew members and 99 passengers were killed. The accident occurred during daylight in cloudy conditions.
    DC9 plane crashes

  4. 16 February 1998; China Airlines A300-600; near Taipei, Taiwan: The aircraft crashed into a residential area short of the runway during its second landing attempt. The scheduled flight had been inbound from the island of Bali in Indonesia. The event occurred under conditions of darkness with rain and reduced visibility due to fog. All 15 crew and 182 passengers were killed. At least seven persons on the ground were also killed.
    A300 plane crashes
    China Airlines plane crashes since 1970

  5. 18 March 1998; Formosa Airlines Saab 340B; at sea near Hsinchu, Taiwan: The aircraft departed Hsinchu at for a scheduled Kaohsiung. Turbulent weather conditions were reported offshore. Aircraft wreckage was found about seven miles (11 km) offshore. All five crew members and eight passengers were killed.
    Saab 340 plane crashes

  6. 19 March 1998; Ariana Afghan Airlines 727-200; near Charasyab, Afghanistan: The aircraft was on a flight from Sharjah to Kabul via Kandahar. The plane was descending for Kabul when it struck the 3000 feet (914 m)Sharki Baratayi mountain 300 feet (91 m) below the summit. All 45 passengers and crew members were killed.
    727 plane crashes

  7. 20 April 1998; Air France 727-200; near Bogota, Colombia: The aircraft was on a flight from Bogota to Quito, Ecuador. Three minutes after takeoff, the plane crashed into the mountain at about 1600 feet (500m) above the airport elevation. Although it was an Air France flight, the aircraft was leased from TAME airlines of Ecuador and was flown by an Ecuadorian crew. All 43 passengers and 10 crew members were killed.
    727 plane crashes
    Air France plane crashes since 1970

  8. 30 July 1998; Proteus Air Beech 1900; F-GSJM; flight 706; near Lorient, France: The aircraft was inbound to Lorient on a flight from Lyon when it collided with a Cessna about one mile (1.6 km) off the coastline. Both crew members and all 12 passengers were killed. The pilot of the Cessna was also killed. Just prior to the collision, the pilot of the Beechcraft reportedly had requested permission to take a detour and overfly a mailboat.
    More on this event

  9. 30 July 1998; Alliance Air HAL/Dornier 228-201; VT-EJW; Dornier 228-200; near Shikharpur, Nepal: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Cochin to Thiruvananthapuram, India. Shortly after takeoff, the aircraft pitched up uncontrollably, stalled, and crashed into a building. Improper maintenance led to a malfunction that caused an uncommanded downward movement of the horizontal stabilizer and subsequent control problems. All three crew members and three passengers were killed. Three people on the ground were also killed.
    Dornier 228 plane crashes

  10. 24 August 1998; Myanmar Airways Fokker F27; near Manibagi, Myanmar: The aircraft was on a flight from Rangoon to Tachilek when it diverted to Heho due to bad weather. The aircraft crashed near Manibagi, killing all 39 passengers and crew.

  11. 29 August 1998; Cubana Tupolev 154M; Quito, Ecuador: After two other attempted takeoffs, the aircraft crashed during its third takeoff attempt for a flight to Guayaqui. The aircraft came down in a neighborhood near the airport. There were 69 fatalities among the 14 crew members and 76 passengers. About nine persons on the ground were also killed.
    Cubana plane crashes since 1970

  12. 2 September 1998; Swissair MD11; flight 111; near Halifax, Canada: The aircraft was on a nonstop flight from New York's JFK airport to Geneva. The aircraft crashed at night in the Atlantic Ocean close to shore about 50 miles (80 km) southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia. All 15 crew members and 214 passengers were killed.
    MD11 plane crashes
    Swissair plane crashes since 1970>
    More about this event

  13. 25 September 1998; Paukn Air BAe 146-100; in Moroccan territory near Melilla, Spain: The aircraft was on approach to Melilla airport on a flight from Malaga when it crashed in a mountainous area about 7.5 miles (12 km) from the airport. All four crew members and 34 passengers were killed.
    Bae 146 plane crashes

  14. 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 fatal events
    Thai Airways International fatal events since 1970

Other Years
1996, 1997, 1998, 1999

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

2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

Most recent crashes

Related information
Recent plane crashes
Recent US plane crashes
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Plane crash rates by model

1998 Airline safety and security review
http://www.airsafe.com/events/fatal98.htm -- Revised: 12 March 2017