List of sole survivors of airline accidents or incidents

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This List of sole survivors of airline accidents includes sole survivors of airline incidents that are associated with ten or more fatalities. The term sole survivor for the purpose of this list is a person who survived an aircraft incident in which all other people on board the aircraft died as a direct result of the incident. This list does not include initial sole survivors who later died due to injuries sustained during the airline incident.

Notable examples[edit]

wreckage in the forest
33-year-old Phil Bradley was the sole survivor in the 1959 crash of the Piedmont Airlines Flight 349 near Crozet, Virginia.

The earliest known sole survivor is Linda McDonald. On 5 September 1936, she survived a Skyways sightseeing plane crash that killed 10 other people, including her boyfriend.[1]

The youngest sole survivor is Chanayuth Nim-anong who on 3 September 1997, survived a crash when he was just 14 months old. He was the sole survivor of Vietnam Airlines Flight 815, which had 65 deaths in total. The oldest sole survivor is Alexander Sizov, who survived a crash at 52 years old. He was the sole survivor (and a crew member) of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash, which crashed on 7 September 2011, with 44 fatalities.

Another sole survivor is a former Serbian flight attendant, Vesna Vulović. According to the Guinness Book of Records she holds the record for surviving the highest fall without a parachute at 10,160 metres (33,330 ft). There was some controversy in 2009 when it was reported that her story might have been communist propaganda, but black box data strongly supported the official story.[2]

One of the more controversial lone survivors was Huang Yu (Chinese: 黃裕, Hanyu Pinyin: Huáng Yù) who tried to hijack the Cathay Pacific aircraft Miss Macao in 1948 but ended up crashing the plane killing the other 25 people on board.[3]

The deadliest aviation disaster to have a sole survivor involved the collision between a Japan Air Self-Defense Force North American F-86 Sabre and a Boeing 727-200 over Shizukuishi, Iwate, Japan on 30 July 1971. The crash killed all 162 on board the Boeing 727, with the sole survivor being the pilot of the F-86 Sabre, a 22-year-old man named Yoshimi Ichikawa.[4] The deadliest aviation accident involving a single aircraft which had a sole survivor was Northwest Airlines Flight 255, which crashed in Romulus, Michigan on 16 August 1987, killing 154 out of the 155 people on board the aircraft, as well as two people on the ground. The sole survivor of the crash was a 4-year-old girl named Cecelia Cichan, who was seriously injured.[5]

Ben S. Cauley, Jr. (October 3, 1947 – September 21, 2015) was an American trumpet player, vocalist, songwriter, and founding member of the Stax recording group, The Bar-Kays. He was the only survivor of the 1967 plane crash that claimed the lives of soul singer Otis Redding and four members of the Bar-Kays.

List[edit]

# Name of sole survivor Age on date of accident Passenger or Crew Operator Flight / information Date No. of fatalities Refs
1 Linda McDonald 17 P Skyways Skyways sightseeing plane disaster 5 September 1936 10 [1]
2 Clarence Bates 41 C Northwest Airlines Northwest Airlines Flight 5 30 October 1941 14 [6][7]
3 Lt Andrew Jack 24 C RAF RAF Short Sunderland flying boat crash killing Prince George, Duke of Kent, at August 1942 Dunbeath Air Crash 25 August 1942 15 [8]
4 John Alfred Howard 26 P Pan American-Grace Airways Flight 9 22 January 1943 14 [9]
5 Foye Kenneth Roberts 22 P U.S. Army Air Forces Bakers Creek air crash 14 June 1943 40 [10]
6 Eduard Prchal 32 C RAF Gibraltar B-24 crash 4 July 1943 10
7 Peter Link 3 P Trans-Luxury Airlines California Trans-Luxury Airlines crash 5 September 1946 20 [11]
8 William Ellis Keyes, Jr. 25 P Eastern Airlines Flight 665 12 January 1947 18 [12]
9 Paul Ashton Vick 18 months P China National Aviation Corporation Hankou crash 28 January 1947 25 [13]
10 Eugene Leonard 38 P Air France Lisbon mountain crash 1 February 1947 15 [14]
11 Tripolina Meo 33 P Delta Air Lines Flight 705 10 March 1948 12 [15][16]
12 Mark Worst P Pan Am Flight 1–10 15 April 1948 30 [17][18]
13 Moutafis P Sabena Douglas DC-4 crash 12 May 1948 31 [19][20]
14 Huang Yu (Chinese: 黃裕, Hanyu Pinyin: Huáng Yù, Cantonese: Wong Yu) 24 P Cathay Pacific Miss Macao 17 July 1948 25 [3]
15 Erick Rios Bridoux 28 C Eastern Air Lines/Bolivian Air Force Mid-air collision with Flight 537 1 November 1949 55 [21]
16 Isaac Allal 12 P Aero Holland Hurum air disaster 20 November 1949 34 [22][23]
17 Olga Rada 10 P LANSA Galeras Douglas C-47 crash 24 May 1950 25 [24][25]
18 Sgt. Haru Sazaki P U.S. Air Force Douglas C-47 crash 27 July 1950 25 [26][27]
19 P/O P. D. Cliff P RAF Aldbury Valetta accident 6 January 1954 16 [28]
20 Concetta Finamore P Linee Aeree Italiane LAI Flight 451 24 November 1956 34
21 Néstor Mata 31 P Philippine Air Force Cebu Douglas C-47 crash 17 March 1957 25 [29]
22 P Eagle Aviation Limited Blackbushe Viking accident 1 May 1957 34
23 P Austral Líneas Aéreas Flight 205 16 January 1959 51 [30]
24 Ernest P. "Phil" Bradley 33 P Piedmont Airlines Flight 349 30 October 1959 26 [31][32]
25 Louis Matarazzo P Allegheny Airlines Flight 371 1 December 1959 25 [33]
26 Lt. Joseph "Leo" Guenet 29 C U.S. Air Force USAF Lockheed EC-121H Super Constellation crash 25 April 1967 15 [34]
27 P Aeroflot Flight 15 29 February 1968 83 [35]
28 P Air Vietnam/US Air Force Mid-air collision with Air Vietnam C-54D (XV-NUG) 20 September 1969 74 [36]
29 Capt. George A. Burk 28 P U.S. Air Force T-29 Convair crash 4 May 1970 13 [37]
30 Juan Loo 26 C LANSA Flight 502 9 August 1970 99 [38]
31 Lt. Christopher E. Schiess 24 C Hughes Airwest / U.S. Marine Corps Mid-air collision with Flight 706 6 June 1971 50 [39]
32 Sgt. Yoshimi Ichikawa 22 C All Nippon Airways / Japan Air Self-Defense Force Mid-air collision with Flight 58 30 July 1971 162 [4]
33 Juliane Koepcke 17 P LANSA Flight 508 24 December 1971 91 [40]
34 Vesna Vulović 22 C JAT Yugoslav Flight 367 26 January 1972 27 [41]
35 Neil James Campbell P Pan Am Flight 816 22 July 1973 78 [42]
36 John McCafferty 16 P Downeast Airlines Flight 46 30 May 1979 17 [43]
37 Larisa Savitskaya 20 P Aeroflot Flight 811 24 August 1981 31 [44][45]
38 Remberto Aparicio 26 P Taxi Aéreo El Venado Paipa Embraer Bandeirante crash 2 September 1981 21 [46][47]
39 AT2 Melissa Kelly 30 P U.S. Navy USN Convair C-131 crash 30 April 1983 14 [48]
40 27 P Aeroflot Flight 3519 23 December 1984 110 [49]
41 George Lamson Jr. 17 P Galaxy Airlines Flight 203 21 January 1985 70 [41]
42 Ouologuem P Air Mali Air Mali (TZ-ACT) crash 22 February 1985 51 [50][51]
43 Prof. Neuba Yessoh P VARIG Flight 797 3 January 1987 50 [52][53]
44 Cecelia Cichan 4 P Northwest Airlines Flight 255 16 August 1987 154 [40]
45 Lt. Edilberto Villar C Peruvian Navy Alianza Lima air disaster 8 December 1987 43 [54]
46 Fahraddin Balaev P Soviet Air Force Soviet Air Force CCCP-86732 crash 11 December 1988 77 [55]
47 Bambang Sumadi P Indonesian Air Force Indonesian Air Force A-1324 crash 5 October 1991 136 [56]
48 Annette Herfkens 31 P Vietnam Airlines Flight 474 14 November 1992 30 [57]
49 Erika Delgado 9 P Intercontinental de Aviación Flight 256 11 January 1995 52 [41]
50 Ulziibayar Sanjaa 27 P MIAT Mongolian Airlines 21 September 1995 42 [58]
51 Irianto 40 P Dirgantara Air Service Flight 5940 7 December 1996 18 [59]
52 Chanayuth Nim-anong 14 months P Vietnam Airlines Flight 815 3 September 1997 65 [60]
53 Sergei Petrov 37 C Tajik Air Flight 3183 15 December 1997 85 [61]
54 Youcef Djillali 28 P Air Algérie Flight 6289 6 March 2003 102 [61]
55 Lt. Martin Farkaš P Slovak Air Force Slovak Air Force Antonov An-24 crash 19 January 2006 42 [41]
56 James M. Polehinke C Comair Flight 5191 27 August 2006 44 [62]
57 Abdülkadir Akyüz P AerianTur-M Balad aircraft crash 9 January 2007 34 [63][64]
58 2 P Great Lakes Business Company Kongolo Antonov An-32B crash 26 August 2007 14 [65]
59 Surendra Kunwar C Yeti Airlines Flight 103 8 October 2008 18 [66]
60 Robert Decker 28 P Cougar Helicopters Flight 91 12 March 2009 17 [67]
61 Bahia Bakari 13 P Yemenia Flight 626 30 June 2009 152 [40]
62 Ruben van Assouw 8[68]
or 9[69][70]
or 10[40]
P Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771 12 May 2010 103 [40]
63 P Filair Bandundu Filair Let L-410 crash 25 August 2010 20 [71]
64 Francis Mwamba P Georgian Airways / United Nations United Nations Bombardier CRJ-100 crash 4 April 2011 32 [72]
65 Alexander Sizov 52 C Yak-Service Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash 7 September 2011 44 [73][74]
66 Nimer Djelloul 21 P Algerian Air Force Algerian Air Force 7T-WHM crash 11 February 2014 77 [75][76]
67 Maylen Díaz Almaguer 19 P Cubana de Aviación Flight 972 18 May 2018 112 [77][78][79]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Darby, Paul; Johnes, Martin; Mellor, Gavin (2005). Soccer and disaster (2005 ed.). Routledge. ISBN 978-0-7146-8289-1. - Total pages: 193
  • Williamson, Ronald M. (2000). Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, 1940–2000: An Illustrated History (2000 ed.). Turner Publishing Company. ISBN 978-1-56311-730-5. - Total pages: 200
  • U.S. Congress (2003). Congressional Record (2003 ed.). Government Printing Office. - Total pages: 15591

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