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Air disasters

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Space Shuttle Challenger disaster

On January 28, 1986, the NASA shuttle orbiter mission STS-51-L and the tenth flight of Space Shuttle Challenger (OV-99) broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, killing all seven crew members, which consisted of five NASA astronauts and two payload specialists. The spacecraft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 11:39 a.m. EST. The disintegration of the vehicle began after a joint in its right solid rocket booster (SRB) failed at liftoff. The failure was caused by the failure of O-ring seals used in the joint that were not designed to handle the unusually cold conditions that existed at this launch. The seals' failure caused a breach in the SRB joint, allowing pressurized burning gas from within the solid rocket motor to reach the outside and impinge upon the adjacent SRB aft field joint attachment hardware and external fuel tank. This led to the separation of the right-hand SRB's aft field joint attachment and the structural failure of the external tank. Aerodynamic forces broke up the orbiter.

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Space Shuttle Columbia disaster

On February 1, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon reentering Earth's atmosphere, killing all seven crew members. The disaster was the second fatal accident in the Space Shuttle program after Space Shuttle Challenger, which broke apart and killed the seven-member crew 73 seconds after liftoff in 1986.

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Sosoliso Airlines Flight 1145

Sosoliso Airlines Flight 1145 (SO1145/OSL1145) was a scheduled domestic passenger flight between the Nigerian cities of Abuja (ABV) and Port Harcourt (PHC). At about 14:08 local time on 10 December 2005, Flight 1145 from Abuja crash-landed at Port Harcourt International Airport. The plane, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32 with 110 people on board, slammed into the ground and burst into flames. Immediately after the crash, seven survivors were recovered and taken to hospitals, but only two people survived.

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Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was a scheduled international passenger flight operated by Malaysia Airlines that disappeared on 8 March 2014 while flying from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia, to its destination, Beijing Capital International Airport in China. Commonly referred to as "MH370", "Flight 370" or "Flight MH370", the flight was also marketed as China Southern Airlines Flight 748 (CZ748/CSN748) through a codeshare. The crew of the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft last made contact with air traffic control (ATC) around 38 minutes after takeoff when the flight was over the South China Sea. The aircraft was lost from ATC radar screens minutes later, but was tracked by military radar for another hour, deviating westwards from its planned flight path, crossing the Malay Peninsula and Andaman Sea. It left radar range 200 nautical miles northwest of Penang Island in northwestern Malaysia. With all 227 passengers and 12 crew on board presumed dead, the disappearance of Flight 370 was the deadliest incident involving a Boeing 777 and the deadliest incident in Malaysia Airlines' history, until it was surpassed in both regards by Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 four months later. The combined loss led to significant financial problems for Malaysia Airlines, which was renationalised by the Malaysian government in late 2014.

Disasters, Transportation

Hindenburg disaster

The Hindenburg disaster occurred on May 6, 1937, in Manchester Township, New Jersey, United States. The German passenger airship LZ 129 Hindenburg caught fire and was destroyed during its attempt to dock with its mooring mast at Naval Air Station Lakehurst. Of the 97 people on board, there were 35 fatalities. One worker on the ground was also killed, raising the death toll to 36.

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US Airways Flight 1549

US Airways Flight 1549 was an Airbus A320 which, in the climbout after takeoff from New York City's LaGuardia Airport on January 15, 2009, struck a flock of Canada geese just northeast of the George Washington Bridge and consequently lost all engine power. Unable to reach any airport, pilots Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles glided the plane to a ditching in the Hudson River off Midtown Manhattan. All 155 people aboard were rescued by nearby boats and there were few serious injuries.

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The Day the Music Died

On February 3, 1959, American rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson were killed in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, together with pilot Roger Peterson. The event later became known as "The Day the Music Died", after singer-songwriter Don McLean referred to it as such in his 1971 song "American Pie".

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Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) was a scheduled passenger flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur that was shot down on 17 July 2014 while flying over eastern Ukraine, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board. Contact with the aircraft, a Boeing 777-200ER, was lost when it was about 50 km (31 mi) from the Ukraine–Russia border and wreckage of the aircraft fell near Hrabove in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, 40 km (25 mi) from the border. The shoot-down occurred in the War in Donbass, during the Battle of Shakhtarsk, in an area controlled by pro-Russian rebels. The crash was Malaysia Airlines' second aircraft loss during 2014 after the disappearance of Flight 370 on 8 March.

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Death of Aaliyah

Aaliyah was an American singer and actress who was killed in a plane crash on August 25, 2001 at the Marsh Harbour Airport on the Abaco Islands, Bahamas. She had just completed filming for the music video for her single "Rock the Boat". Employees of Virgin Records America accompanied her on the flight. The Cessna 402 twin-engine light aircraft, piloted by Luis Morales III, crashed shortly after takeoff. In addition to Aaliyah, eight other people were killed in the plane crash. She was 22 years old.

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TWA Flight 800

Trans World Airlines Flight 800 was a Boeing 747-100 that exploded and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near East Moriches, New York, on July 17, 1996, at about 8:31 p.m. EDT, 12 minutes after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport on a scheduled international passenger flight to Rome, with a stopover in Paris. All 230 people on board perished in the third-deadliest aviation accident in U.S. history. Accident investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) traveled to the scene, arriving the following morning amid speculation that a terrorist attack was the cause of the crash. Consequently, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and New York Police Department (FBI-NYPD) Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) initiated a parallel criminal investigation. Sixteen months later, the JTTF announced that no evidence had been found of a criminal act and closed its active investigation.

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Alaska Airlines Flight 261

Alaska Airlines Flight 261 was a scheduled international passenger flight from Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico, to Seattle–Tacoma International Airport in Seattle, Washington, United States, with an intermediate stop at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, California. On January 31, 2000, the aircraft operating the route, a McDonnell Douglas MD-83, crashed into the Pacific Ocean about 2.7 miles (4.3 km) north of Anacapa Island, California, after suffering a catastrophic loss of pitch control. The accident killed everyone on board: two pilots, three cabin crew members, and 83 passengers.

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Tenerife airport disaster

On March 27, 1977, two Boeing 747 passenger jets, KLM Flight 4805 and Pan Am Flight 1736, collided on the runway at Los Rodeos Airport, on the Spanish island of Tenerife, Canary Islands, killing 583 people, making it the deadliest accident in aviation history.

Wars and warfare, Transportation

United Airlines Flight 93

United Airlines Flight 93 was a domestic scheduled passenger flight that was hijacked by four Al-Qaeda terrorists on board, as part of the September 11 attacks. It crashed into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, during an attempt by the passengers and crew to regain control. All 44 people aboard were killed, including the four hijackers, but no one on the ground was injured. The aircraft involved, a Boeing 757–222, was flying United Airlines' daily scheduled morning flight from Newark International Airport in New Jersey to San Francisco International Airport in California.

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1994 Fairchild Air Force Base B-52 crash

On Friday, 24 June 1994, a United States Air Force (USAF) Boeing B-52 Stratofortress crashed at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, United States, after its pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Arthur "Bud" Holland, maneuvered the bomber beyond its operational limits and lost control. The B-52 stalled, fell to the ground and exploded, killing Holland and the three other field-grade officers on board the aircraft. The crash was captured on video and was shown repeatedly on news broadcasts throughout the world.

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Southern Airways Flight 932

Southern Airways Flight 932 was a chartered Southern Airways Douglas DC-9 domestic United States commercial jet flight from Stallings Field (ISO) in Kinston, North Carolina, to Huntington Tri-State Airport/Milton J. Ferguson Field (HTS) in Ceredo, West Virginia. At 7:36 p.m. on November 14, 1970, the aircraft crashed into a hill just short of the Tri-State Airport, killing all 75 people on board.