Transport Airlines

A Timeline of Past Surface-to-Air Attacks on Commercial Planes

Jul 19, 2014 5:00 pm

Skift Take

There is no action that could be taken to ensure this is the last of these attacks besides diligent day-to-day diligence from airlines and aviation officials.

— Samantha Shankman

Free Report: The State of Student Travel

ABC News

Screen grab from live online coverage by ABC News. ABC News


More than 600 passengers and crew on board at least six commercial planes were killed after strikes by surface-to-air missiles from 1962 through July 16, according to the Aviation Safety Network website.

A Malaysian Airline System Bhd. plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine yesterday, killing all 298 people on board, in an attack that the government in Kiev blamed on pro-Russian rebels. The separatist have denied the accusation.

Aviation Safety Network classifies that crash as a “developing story.”

Below is a timeline of major incidents involving planes that crashed after ground-based attacks, according to Aviation Safety Network. Not included are air-to-air strikes, such as the 1983 shoot-down of a Korean Air Lines jet by Soviet jets. The website is supported by the U.S. non-profit Flight Safety Foundation in Alexandria, Virginia.

Oct. 4, 2001: A Sibir Airlines plane was damaged by a missile from Ukraine defense forces that exploded 15 meters (49 feet) above the aircraft during a training exercise. The plane crashed into the Black Sea, killing all 78 passengers and crew.

Sept. 29, 1998: An aircraft of Lionair, a Sri Lankan carrier, was flying to Colombo when it disappeared from radar screens. The initial indications were that it was downed by separatists, killing all 55 passengers and crew, according to ASN.

Sept. 22, 1993: An Orbi Georgian Airways flight was shot down by Abkhazian rebels and crashed on the runway at Sukhumi-Babusheri Airport, killing 108 of the 132 people on board.

July 3, 1988: An Iran Air flight was mistakenly shot down by missiles from the U.S. Navy in Strait of Hormuz, killing all 290 passengers and crew.

June 11, 1987: A Bakhtar Afghan Airlines plane was shot down by a missile fired by rebels in Afghanistan, killing 53 of the 55 people on board.

Aug. 16, 1986: A Sudan Airways plane was shot down by a missile fired by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army near Malakal in South Sudan, killing all 60 on board.

Feb. 12, 1979: An Air Rhodesia plane was hit by a missile fired by the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army near Kariba, Zimbabwe, killing all 59 passengers and crew.

June 30, 1962: An Aeroflot aircraft was accidentally shot down by a stray missile in an air defense exercise in Russia, killing all 84 on board.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Cooper in Tokyo at ccooper1@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anand Krishnamoorthy at anandk@bloomberg.net Subramaniam Sharma, Ed Dufner.

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