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Wednesday, September 1, 1999 Published at 03:34 GMT 04:34 UK

World: Americas

Disaster in the air

229 died when a Swissair plane crashed in September 1998

A series of crashes in the past year has taken the lives of hundreds of passengers and crew.

[ image:  ]
But the industry maintains flying is one of the the safest ways to travel, despite warnings that there will be an increase in major crashes as the skies become more crowded.

Almost 800 people died, in 12 major accidents, worldwide during 1998.

In 1997, in 21 reported accidents, there were 1,093 fatalties.

Yet these are not exceptional years. In 1972 more than 2,500 people died in aviation accidents.

Recent disasters include:

August 1999

  • China Airlines jet crashes in Hong Kong, killing two and injuring 200.

  • Eighteen die touring in a plane crash in the Cape Verde islands, West Africa.

    July 1999

  • Domestic flight in Fiji crashes, killing all 17 passengers and crew.

  • Sixteen die when small passenger plane crashes in Nicaragua.

    June 1999

  • Twin-engined plane crashes in Papua New Guinea, killing all 17 on board.

  • Fifty soldiers killed in Sudan when military plane crashes.

    April 1999

  • Turkish Airlines plane crashes in southern Turkey, killing all six crew members aboard.

    March 1999

  • Indian Air Force plane crash kills 23 as it overshoots runway in Delhi.

    February 1999

  • A Chinese domestic flight explodes in Wenzhou, in the south east of the country, killing 61.

    December 1998

  • Thai Airlines plane crashes on approach to Surat Thani, Thailand, killing 101.

    September 1998

  • Swissair plane crashes off Canada, killing all 229 people on board.

    August 1998

  • Cubana plane crashes on take-off in Quito, Ecuador, killing 80.

  • Myanmar Airlines plane crashes into a mountain in Burma, killing 39.

  • Thirty-six die in crash in Burma.

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