You Won’t Believe How Many Fatal Plane Crashes 2018 Has Already Seen

While deaths of animals on airlines have sparked a strong reaction from Americans, there’s something else that’s been haunting airlines in 2018: Fatal plane crashes. This year has already seen more commercial passenger plane fatalities than all of 2017.

Here’s a rundown of the planes that have crashed, why they crash, and which airlines are the safest — and most dangerous — in the world.

A Russian Airline crashed minutes after takeoff

Seat rows inside an airplane.

The plane crashed just minutes after it took off. | Gabriellephotos/iStock/Getty Images

On February 11, a domestic Russian passenger flight took off from Moscow to Orsk but never landed. A few minutes into the flight, the plane’s speed and altitude started to fluctuate. The pilots were unable to regain control of the aircraft and attempted to make an unsuccessful emergency landing. The plane crashed six minutes into its flight. A further investigation showed that the plane’s pitot tubes had malfunctioned. There were 67 passengers and four crew on board; all 71 people were killed.

Next: This passenger plane was missing for days. 

A passenger plane crashed in Iran and wasn’t found for two days

Planes in an airplane.

A tragic crash killed 65 passengers. |

On February 18, a domestic Iranian passenger jet traveling from Tehran to Yasuj crashed Iran’s Zagros Mountains about an hour into its flight. Rescue helicopters did not find the plane for two days after the crash, but all 65 passengers were presumed dead. The aftermath of the crash has left many questions unanswered. Families want to know why the plane was given the green light in such bad weather conditions. Iran also announced everyone had died before they even discovered the plane, prompting more conspiracy.

Next: An error among pilots may have cost 49 lives. 

A miscommunication on a Nepal airline caused a fatal crash

Airplane is flying in the red sky.

A deadly crash occurred in Nepal. | Den-belitsky/iStock/Getty Images

On March 12, a passenger plane carrying 71 people and flying from Bangladesh crashed while landing at Nepal’s Kathmandu Airport. 49 people were killed. As of mid-March, the investigation was still ongoing, but the moments of conversation before the crash indicate that a miscommunication between pilots and air traffic controllers was the cause. Kathmandu Airport is especially difficult to navigate because it is surrounded by mountains. Pilots must go through special training to be able to land planes there.

Next: 2018’s aviation safety record is already far worse than 2017’s record. 

2018 stacks up poorly compared to 2017

Airline flyers sitting in blue seats.

Here are the statistics. |

In the first quarter of 2018, three fatal plane crashes occurred in just over a month’s time (February 11 through March 12). However, 2017 was the safest year in aviation history, with no commercial passenger jet fatalities in the entire year. The Russian plane crash on February 11, 2018 marked the first commercial passenger jet crash in 438 days. Aviation experts believe that 2017 was a “statistical blip” in the sense that it’s very uncommon to go a full year without any fatal commercial passenger jet crashes. The three deadly plane crashes in 2018 resulted in 170 fatalities within the first three months of the year.

Next: Here’s why most planes crash. 

The majority of plane crashes are caused by pilot error — not the aircraft

Airplane flying above the clouds.

Pilot error can lead to crashes. | Ep_stock/iStock/Getty Images

It’s important to note that according to experts and crash investigations, most plane crashes are caused by an error on the pilot’s part — meaning they were preventable. According to Independent, an analysis of more than 1,000 plane crashes between 1950 and 2010 showed that a combined 53% were due to pilot error. (32% were sole pilot error; 16% were weather-related pilot error; 5% were mechanical-related pilot error.) Mechanical failure accounted for only 20% of the crashes.

Next: This is the most dangerous airline in the world. 

Afghanistan’s Kam Air is the most dangerous in the world

Airplane flies over a sea.

This airline is questionable. | Mike_Kiev/iStock/Getty Images

Kam Air, operated out of Kabul, Afghanistan, is the world’s most dangerous airline. The airline has never completed an audit by the International Civil Aviation Organization and was rated only two stars out of seven by, a popular website that ranks the safety of passenger airlines worldwide. In 2010, the European Union banned all Afghan airlines, including Kam Air, from flying to Europe due to safety concerns. The airline is also not allowed to fly into American airspace.

Next: This is the safest airline in the world. 

Australia’s Qantas Airways has been deemed the world’s safest airline

White plane with red stripe.

This airline has proven to be reliable. | Eddie Maloney/Wikimedia Commons

In January 2017, Qantas Airways was named the world’s safest airline for the fourth year in a row. It has a completely fatality-free record and also a seven-star safety rating (the highest) by Qantas is considered by experts to be at the forefront of safety innovation. The airline flies 123 aircrafts to 85 destinations worldwide.

Next: These U.S. airlines made the top 20 safest in the world. 

4 U.S. Airlines made the top 20 safest in the world

Airplane wing in sky and clouds.

Safety is really important to customers. | WeatherlyHammond/iStocik/Getty Images’s top 20 safest airlines included four from the U.S.: Alaska Airlines (3), Delta Airlines (7), Hawaiian Airlines (11), and United Airlines (18). The U.S. had more airlines in the top 20 than any other country. JetBlue and Virgin America made the list of the top 10 safest, low-cost airlines but were not factored into the original top 20.

Next: A survivor from the Nepal plane crash advises you not to do this on a plane. 

Tip from a survivor: Don’t drink during the flight

An emergency exit on a plane.

If you can help it, try to stay an sober and alert as possible. | Roibu/Getty Images

A Nepali travel agent who survived March 12’s plane crash in Nepal said that being alert saved his life. He also said passengers should never drink alcohol on the flight or sleep during takeoff or landing. The man was able to take quick action and kick down the emergency door with help from a few other passengers. He believes that his quick response was due to not sleeping or drinking any alcohol mid-flight. The emergency exit allowed some of the 22 surviving passengers to escape.

Next: Here’s the FAA’s biggest safety tip. 

The FAA’s biggest safety tip: Don’t ignore the safety briefing

Flight attendants demonstrating a safety procedure on a plane.

You might want to plug in your headphones, but it is important to pay attention. | Chameleonseye/iStock/Getty Images

On the Federal Aviation Administration’s website, the first and foremost safety tip when flying is to listen to the flight attendant’s safety briefing at the beginning of the flight. The FAA also stresses reading the safety briefing card. Although the chances of a plane crashing are incredibly slim, being alert and aware of how to handle the situation can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.

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