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Most 2015 Commercial Aviation Deaths Were Caused Intentionally

For the second year in a row, more airline fatalities resulted from “unlawful interference” than any other single cause.

Air travel is unequivocally the safest form of transportation, but in 2015, much like the previous year, flying would have been statistically much safer if not for a few fellow humans with malicious intent. A recently released report by the Dutch aviation consulting firm To70, finds that once again “unlawful interference” was the leading cause of passenger deaths last year.

“The total number of fatalities as a result of unlawful interference has increased in the past two years to over 900,” the report noted. The staggering figure far outpaces the number of passenger fatalities from air disasters caused by mechanical failures, human error or weather.

The To70 report considered the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 by a suspected missile and the still unsolved disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 as disasters caused by unlawful interference for the purposes of the report. Germanwings Flight 9525, which is thought to have been intentionally downed by the first officer, and Metrojet Flight 9268, believed to have been downed by a bomb placed onboard, were also included in the tally.

To70 expressed some hope that air disasters caused by malicious intent could see a significant drop in the coming year, but stressed that changes will be needed to prevent such occurrences in the future.

“Unlawful interference on board by passengers is reasonably well covered around the world,” To70 Senior Aviation Consultant Adrian Young told the Independent. “My main concerns are centered on the way airport and airline staff get airside. There are many airports that have weak systems to control who goes airside and with what.”

To70 officials stopped short of referring to the deaths resulting from unlawful interference as murder. The firm used social media to correct media reports that referred to murder rather than unlawful interference as the leading cause of aviation fatalities over the past two years. The company took to Twitter to point out, “The word murder is theirs, not ours.”

[Photo: AFP]

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