Plane Crash Deaths in 2014 More Than Twice as Many in 2013; Crash Clusters 'Coincidental'

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By Reissa Su | July 26, 2014 5:52 PM EST

The last three civilian aircraft crashes may be the deadliest in 2014 with the same number of deaths within a seven-day period when compared to all plane crash fatalities in 2013.

REUTERS/Mischa Rapmund
A coffin of one of the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, downed over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine, is carried from an aircraft, during a national reception ceremony, at Eindhoven airport July 24, 2014. REUTERS/Mischa Rapmund

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According to the Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives (B3A) based in Geneva, about 459 plane crash fatalities were recorded in 2013. This makes the number of deaths in 2014 twice as many as that of 2013.

On July 17, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile in Ukraine, causing the plane to crash and kill 298 people on board. Last July 23, TransAsia Airways Flight GE 222 has crashed while attempting to make an emergency landing at Taiwan's Magong Airport during a storm which left 48 dead and 10 injured.

Another passenger plane was reported to have crashed the next day, July 24, on the outskirts of Mali. An Air Algerie plane disappeared off the radar over northern Mali carrying 116 people on board.

Reports said the string of crashes may have sparked fear among air travels and risked the reputation of air carriers including the aviation industry in general. According to aviation experts, the recent plane crashes are "purely coincidental."

Ronan Hubert, B3A founder and aircraft accident historian, said aviation still has a "very high level of safety."  In a phone interview with CTVNews, he added that the aviation incident rate has been in decline in the last two decades. Hubert said the death rate from plane crashes was "so low" between 2011 and 2013 that it was difficult to "do better."

The aviation expert said the risk is "near-zero" with all the aircrafts taking off on a daily basis. According to the data gathered by the B3A, the number of deaths from plane crashes was 828 in 2011. The number fell to 800 in 2012 before dropping even lower at 459 in 2013.

Hubert explained that most of the recorded plane crashes involve small planes. Deadlier tragedies like the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash are "extremely rare." 

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(Photo: REUTERS/Mischa Rapmund / )
A coffin of one of the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, downed over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine, is carried from an aircraft, during a national reception ceremony, at Eindhoven airport July 24, 2014. REUTERS/Mischa Rapmund
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