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Air Crash Deaths Increased By More Than 1000 Percent In 2018

Over 500 people were killed flying last year, compared with 44 fatalities in 2017.

Fifteen major airline disasters resulted in 556 deaths in 2018.

Despite those horrific numbers, it was actually the third-safest year ever by the number of fatal accidents, and the ninth-safest in terms of fatalities.

Nearly half of the worst crashes in the past five years were due to loss of control (LOC) and "not survivable", according to the Aviation Safety Network.

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LOC is the unintended departure of an aircraft from controlled flight that has reached a situation from which it is impossible for them to be recovered.

It can be caused by mechanical failure, external disturbances, aircraft upset conditions, or inappropriate crew actions or responses.

A plane wheel from the Lion Air JT 610 plane crash in November 2018 at Tanjung Priok Port, Jakarta, Indonesia. Image: Muhammad Fauzy/NurPhoto via Getty.

Last year's biggest accident involved Indonesian airline Lion Air in October, which crashed shortly after takeoff with 189 lives lost.

Three of the aircraft that crashed in 2018 -- from Iran, D.R. Congo and Nepal -- are on the European Union's 'blacklist'.

These airlines failed to meet the regulatory oversight standards of the EU and are banned from entering the airspace of any member state.

A Cuban plane crash in May with 112 fatalities was the next deadliest after the Lion Air accident, while a Russian crash in February with 71 deaths came in third.

Given worldwide air traffic is around 37,800,000 flights, the accident rate in 2018 was one fatal accident per 2,540,000 flights, the ASN estimated.

Airliner accident statistics for 2018. Image: Aviation Safety Network.

The figures demonstrate an "alarming" year despite the fact aviation is certainly getting 'safer', International Aerospace Law & Policy Group's Joseph Wheeler told 10 daily.

"For the many families journeying with the loss of a loved one, no trend analysis could ever comfort them in their grief. For this reason. as much focus as ever needs to be brought to identifying where factors in the safety regime for air transport can be improved.

Governments must work together to ensure safety oversight in aviation remains a very high priority."

In stark contrast to last year, 2017 was the safest year in aviation history -- with 10 accidents and 44 lives lost.

Featured image: Getty.