Special Report

18 of the Worst Aircraft Disasters in Military History

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

B-34 Ventura Bomber, Los Angeles, California
>Year: 1942
>Fatalities: 12

On a journey from Long Beach to Palm Springs, California, a B-34 Ventura Bomber clipped the tail of an American Airlines DC-3, causing the DC-3 to crash. Everyone aboard the DC-3 was killed, including Academy Award-winning composer Ralph Rainger. The B-34 safely landed with minimal damage, and it was later revealed that the B-34 pilot had accidentally flown too close to the DC-3 while trying to wave to its pilot who was a friend.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

B-24 Bomber, Wendover Army Air Base, Utah
>Year: 1942
>Fatalities: 1

In August, 1942, a B-24 Bomber experienced engine failure and attempted to land on a highway seven miles east of Wendover Army Air Base in Utah. However, it crash-landed, and its momentum carried it off the highway and into a passing freight train. Shortly after, another train, unaware of the accident, crashed into the wreckage. 10 crewmembers were injured but only one was killed.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

B-17 Bomber, Galveston, Texas
>Year: 1943
>Fatalities: 22

During training maneuvers in 1943, two B-17 bombers took off from Alexandria Air Base in Louisiana but later collided in midair near Galveston, killing everyone aboard both planes. The cause of the accident was not determined but investigators believed one plane may have been lost and collided with the other while trying to return to formation.

B-25, Empire State Building, New York
>Year: 1945
>Fatalities: 14

A B-25 Mitchell Bomber was flying through thick fog on route from Massachusetts to New Jersey when it slammed into the Empire State Building, near the 79th floor. One engine went entirely through the then world’s tallest building, starting a fire in a building across the street. All three individuals onboard the plane were killed as were 11 people in the skyscraper.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Boeing Flying Fortress, RAF Glatton, England
>Year: 1945
>Fatalities: 9

During World War II, a B-17 Flying Fortress nicknamed “Miss Ida” crashed during takeoff at Glatton airbase in England, killing nine crew members. The plane was setting off on a mission to bomb Ingolstadt, Germany, and crashed with a full load of bombs and fuel, which exploded after impact.

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