Most airplane passengers have some latent fear of crashing. In-flight magazines, movies and snacks are all methods with which airlines distract their passengers from the anxiety of
10. Clarence Bates, 1941
Pilot Clarence Bates was the sole survivor of Northwest Airlines flight 5. While flying near Fargo, N.D. airport, contact with Clarence was lost. He was descending from an altitude of 2,700 feet when his radio went silent. A short time later, he was wandering in a field shocked but otherwise unscathed. The plane was a flaming wreck nearby, having bounced 100 yards and miraculously throwing Clarence free. Clarence had to be restrained from going back into the wreck to rescue the other 14 passengers. None of them survived. Instrument failure due to extremely cold weather is believed to be the cause. Sadly, Clarence was died in the following year in the crash of a B-24 aircraft.
9. George Lamson, Jr. 1985
Taking off from Reno-Cannon International Airport on January 21, 1985, this flight didn’t get far. Galaxy Airlines flight 203 crashed just a mile and a half beyond the runway. Apparently, ground crew didn’t properly secure the air-start access door after distraction from equipment difficulties of their own. The vibration from the open hatch in turn distracted the pilot and copilot enough to lose track of their speed and flight path. All 65 passengers aboard died except the then-17-year-old George Lamson Jr. who’s seat was thrown from the plane and landed upright. George Lamson was unharmed.
8. Alexander Sizov, 2011
A Russian plane transporting the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl professional ice hockey team went down shortly after it took off from Tunoshna Airport. The botched takeoff cost the lives of the entire team (except one absent player) and coaching staff as well as a few others on the plane. In total, 45 people were aboard and only crewman Alexander survived. Unlike the previous people who survived deadly plane crash, Alexander was badly burned on his body after attempting to rescue a friend. He spent many weeks in the hospital.
7. Surendra Kunwar, 2008
On final approach to a treacherous runway in eastern Nepal, Yeti Airlines flight 103 went down with 19 passengers. The approach and runway were set in the foothills of the Himalayas. All non-crew on the flight were tourists wishing to see Mount Everest. Due to thick fog, the pilot missed the runway and smashed into the mountain that held the airport. The pilot, Surendra Kunwar, was the only survivor.
6. Francis Mwamba, 2011
A UN aircraft returning from a trip to eastern Congo crashed with 32 passengers and crew members. The only survivor was Francis, a Congolese journalist reporting on the conditions in eastern Congo. Strong storms and high winds during landing may have been the cause.
5. James Polehinke, 2006
Comair flight 5191 took off from Blue Grass Airport in Kentucky. Probably by mistake, the pilot attempted to take from a secondary runway measuring only 3,500 feet long. This was not enough distance for a safe takeoff. The runway for which the plane was cleared was over twice the length. As a result, the plane overran the runway and crashed just beyond it. All 50 people on board died, except First Officer James Polehinke. Inaccurate airport maps may have lead to the confusion.
4. Sergei Petrov, 1997
Tajik Air Flight 3181, en route to the United Arab Emirates, crashed unexpectedly. The wreckage was spread out over a mile. Eighty-six people were aboard and all but Sergei died. Another passenger initially survived but died on the way to the hospital. One of few people who survived a deadly plane crash, Sergei’s survival is difficult to explain.
3. Youcef Djillali, 2003
Air Algerie Flight 6289 failed after takeoff from Tamanrasset, Algeria. After veering off the runway, the plane crashed with 103 people on board. The only survivor, Youcef was an Algerian soldier and one of few lucky people who survived a deadly plane crash. It appeared that massive mechanical failure may have been to blame.
2. Ruben van Assouw, 2010
Nine-year-old Ruben was the only survivor of the 103 people onboard Afriqiyah Airlines Flight 771. Both his parents and brother died when, during its final approach, the plane crashed. Investigations indicate the reason for the crash was probably a pilot error and miscommunication between the pilot and copilot.
1. Bahia Bakari, 2009
Yemenia Flight 626 crashed into the Indian Ocean in June 2009. Of the 153 passengers on board, teenage Bahia was the only survivor. After the plane came apart, Bahia managed to survive by clinging to a piece of wreckage for close to 13 hours, suffering hypothermia and broken bones and surrounded by floating corpses. The plane had been inspected two years prior to the accident and found to have multiple faults. Yet it was never taken for repairs. The final straw may have been the strong weather the day of the crash.