Malaysia Airlines flight 17

Timeline: The tragic history of civilian airliners shot down since the cold war

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 July, 2014, 9:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 July, 2014, 12:08pm

In the wake of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 tragedy, here are some cases of civilian airliners being shot down by armed forces since the end of the second world war.

Cathay Pacific VR-HEU, July 23, 1954. Chinese PLA Air Force jets shot down a DC-4 airliner operated by Cathay Pacific Airways on a flight from Bangkok to Hong Kong, killing 10 of the 19 people on board.

El Al Flight 402, July 27, 1955. Bulgarian Mig jets shot down an El Al flight from Vienna to Tel Aviv via Istanbul, after the propliner strayed into Bulgarian airspace and refused to land. All 58 crew and passengers on board the Lockheed L-049 Constellation were killed.

Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114. February 21, 1973. The Boeing 727 flying from Tripoli to Cairo was shot down by Israeli fighter jets over the Sinai dessert. All but four of the 112 people on board were killed. The Israeli air force intervened after the Boeing flew over military facilities in the Sinai, then occupied by Israel. Israeli authorities said fighters opened fire when the plane refused to land.

Korean Air Lines Flight 902, April 20, 1978. Russian fighter jets shot down the Boeing 707-321B plane en route from Paris to Seoul after it entered Soviet airspace and failed to respond to the Russian communications. The plane made an emergency landing on a frozen lake. 107 passengers and crew survived, and two passengers were killed.

Air Rhodesia Flight RH825, September 3, 1978. A Vickers Viscount 782D flight from Kariba to Salisbury, Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe) was shot down by Zimbabwe People's Revolution Army guerrillas. Eighteen of the 56 passengers on board survived, but ten of the survivors were killed by guerrillas at the crash site.

Air Rhodesia Flight RH827, February 12, 1979. Also a Vickers Viscount en route from Kariba to Salisbury, again downed by Zimbabwe People's Revolution Army guerrillas. All 59 passengers and crew were killed.

Aerolinee Itavia Flight 870, June 27, 1980. A DC-9 belonging to the now defunct Italian airline Itavia, flying from Bologna to Palermo with 81 people on board, exploded in mid-flight near the island of Ustica, off Sicily. The hypothesis that a missile was fired in error by American or French fighter jets was denied by Washington, while the French defence ministry refused to comment.

Korean Air Lines Flight 007, September 1, 1983. A South Korean Boeing 747 belonging to Korean Air was shot down by Soviet fighter jets over the island of Sakhalin, after veering off course. Some 269 passengers and crew members were killed. Soviet officials acknowledged five days later that they had shot down the plane.

Iran Air Flight 655, July 3, 1988. The Airbus A-300 carrying 290 passengers and crew from Bandar Abbas, Iran to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates was shot down by the US Navy cruiser USS Vincennes, which misidentified the airliner as an Iranian fighter jet. The US and Iran reached a compensation agreement with the Iranian victims' families in 1996, but the US has never admitted responsibility nor apologised to Iran.

Transair Georgian Airline Shootdowns, September 1993. Three airliners belonging to Transair Georgia were shot down by missiles and gunfire at or near the Sukhumi Airport in Abkhazia, Georgia. A total of 136 passengers and crew members were killed.

Lionair Flight LN 602, September 29, 1998. The Antonov An-24RV crashed into the sea off the north-western coast of Sri Lanka after departing Jaffna-Palaly Air Force Base on a flight to Colombo. All 55 people on board were killed. Initial reports indicated that the plane had been shot down by the Tamil Tigers rebels.

Siberia Airlines Flight 1812, October 4, 2001. A Tu-154 plane en route from Tel Aviv to Novosibirsk in Russia crashed into the Black Sea, killing all 66 passengers and 12 crew. It is suspected to have been hit by S-200 surface to air missile, fired from the Crimea peninsula during an exercise by the Ukrainian military.

Balad aircraft crash, January 9, 2007. An Antonov An-26 chartered by a Turkish construction company carrying cargo and passengers crashed while attempting a landing at Balad Air Base in Iraq. Witnesses claim they saw the plane being shot down, and a terrorist group, the Islamic Army in Iraq, claimed responsibility. Thirty four of the 35 passengers on board were killed.

TransAVIAexport Airlines Il-76, March 23, 2007. The Il-76 crashed in the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia, killing all 11 Belarussian civilians on board. Witnesses claim they saw the plane shot down. Somalia insists it was an accident.

Malaysia Airlines flight 17 July 17, 2014. The Boeing 777-200 carrying 298 passengers and crew crashed near Donetsk in eastern of Ukraine, killing all on board.

Wikipedia and AFP