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Recent airplane disasters include 2015’s Germanwings crash and the still-unexplained disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in 2014.
In March 2015, while on a flight from Barcelona, Spain, to Dusseldorf, Germany, pilot Andreas Lubitz locked the captain out of the cockpit and deliberately flew the Germanwings Airbus A320 jet into a French mountainside on a flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf, German, killing all 150 people on board.
Experts say that since the incident, more European airlines have adopted the “low-tech” preventive approach of requiring two personnel in the cockpit at all times, which is already required in the United States.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board while on a flight from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Beijing.
The official investigative report issued in July said there was a “significant lack of evidence” to explain the plane’s disappearance, but the diversion “likely resulted from manual inputs.”
Mary F. Schiavo, former inspector general for the U.S. Department of Transportation who is now a member of Motley Rice L.L.C. in New York, said she believes the pilots may have been somehow stricken by hypoxia, which is oxygen deprivation to the brain.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, common causes of hypoxia include rapid decompression during flight, pressurization system malfunction or oxygen system malfunction.
Other incidents include:
• A total of 288 people were killed when Air France Flight 447, en route from Rio De Janeiro to Paris, crashed into the Atlantic in May 2009, killing all 288 people aboard. An investigative report the next month concluded the accident was caused by a succession of events, including the crew’s failure to appropriately respond to a stall situation.
• In April 2018, a woman died on a Southwest Airlines flight after she was partially sucked out a plane window that was hit by debris from a blown engine. The Federal Aviation Administration subsequently ordered an “emergency airworthiness directive” requiring inspections of the type of engine involved.
• All 103 passengers and crew survived when an Aeroméxico plane en route to Mexico City from Guadalupe, Mexico, crashed shortly after takeoff on July 31.
The aviation insurance market has been soft but is beginning to show signs of hardening, though there continues to be significant capacity.