Worst plane crashes in East African history Featured

To many people, plane crashes are only understood better in movies. Given that many cannot afford a trip in it, the majority of people cannot fathom how a plane crash happens.

On the contrary, when it occurs it captures the imagination of not only a country, continent but also a world in mourning.

Having claimed hundreds of lives of people who hardly come from one nation, race or gender, plane crashes have always grabbed the joy of human inhabitants on planet Earth.

East African region, a fast-growing economy, has unfortunately endured the pain of plane crashes. Some claiming the lives of its netizens others involving its planes.


Being the latest nation in the world to have faced one of the worst and infamous plane crash on its soil, the deadliest incident took place on 10 March 2019, when a Boeing 737 MAX 8, barely four months old, crashed at about six minutes after the takeoff, claiming the lives of 157 aboard. among those killed were 32 Kenyans. The plane was heading to Nairobi from Addis Ababa.

Until then, according to Wikipedia, the airline’s most infamous accident occurred on 23 November 1996, when a hijacked Boeing 767-200ER crashed into the Indian Ocean off the coast of the Comoros Islands due to fuel starvation, killing 125 of the 175 passengers and crew on board.


Ethiopian Airlines Flight 961 was hijacked on 23 November 1996 on its way from Addis Ababa to Nairobi by three Ethiopians seeking political asylum.

The plane crash-landed in the Indian Ocean near Comoros after running out of fuel, killing 125 of the 175 passengers and crew on board.

Yemenia Flight 626 The Airbus A300 was on approach to Moroni when it stalled. The flight crews did not take the appropriate action to recover it and the plane crashed into the Indian Ocean off the Northern coast of Comoros on 30 June 2009. Of 153 aboard, 152 died; a 12-year-old passenger was found alive.

South Sudan

1986 Sudan Airways Fokker F-27 shoot down - On 16 August 1986, a Fokker F-27 Friendship 400M was shot down by Sudan People's Liberation Army. The plane disintegrated and crashed near Malakai. Everyone on board was killed.


On 20 July 1981, Somali Airlines Flight 40, operated by a Fokker F27 Friendship, took off from Mogadishu's Mogadishu International Airport on its way to Hargeisa International Airport in Hargeisa. It later returned to the Mogadishu airport for some repairs, before departing a second time.

A few minutes after Flight 40 took off again, the aircraft entered an area of heavy rainfall. The flight crew subsequently lost control and crashed near the town of Balad. All 50 people on board were killed, the most fatalities in a single aircraft crash within Somali airspace.

The crash investigation determined that the aircraft had entered a spiral dive after encountering strong vertical gusts. Loads during the dive increased to approximately 5.76 g, exceeding the design stress limits of the Fokker F27 type and causing its right wing to separate. The flight crew were believed to have erred in taking off during known thunderstorm conditions.


On 20 November 1974, Lufthansa Flight 540 was a scheduled commercial operating the final segment of its Frankfurt–Nairobi–Johannesburg route when it crashed and caught fire shortly past the runway on takeoff, claiming the lives of 157 people.

This was the first fatal accident and third hull loss of a Boeing 747. This was also the third fatal accident involving a wide-body aircraft after Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 in 1972 and the crash of Turkish Airlines Flight 981 earlier in 1974.

To date, it is also the deadliest plane crash to occur on Kenyan soil as well as the deadliest plane crash in Lufthansa's history.

The cause of the crash was determined to be a stall caused by the leading edge slats having been left in the retracted position.

Even though the trailing edge flaps were deployed, without the slats being extended the aircraft's stall speed was higher and the maximum angle of attack was lower. As a result, the aircraft was unable to climb out of ground effect.

While countries like Uganda and Tanzania have not faced horrific plane crashes other countries like Ethiopia Kenya and others have found themselves at the receiving end of these fatal plane crashes.