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Fatal aircraft accidents on Friday 13th – a statistical analysis
13 September 2013

Friday the 13th is considered an unlucky day in Western superstition. Does this bad luck translate to a higher number of aircraft accidents? No. On the contrary.

The Aviation Safety Network database contains all known fatal airliner accidents. An analysis of theses accidents shows that there have been a total of 2288 fatal airliner accidents on passenger flights from January 1, 1945 up to and including Friday 13 September 2013. This translates to an average of 0,091 fatal accidents per day.

In this period there were 118 ‘Friday 13th’ days during which eight fatal airliner accidents were recorded, an average of 0,067 per day.

Friday in itself does not appear to be a safer day compared to other days. Looking at a break down per calendar day, Friday seems like an average weekday.

Percentage of fatal airliner accidents per calender day since 1945 (n=2288)

Percentage of fatal airliner accidents per calender day since 1945 (n=2288)



List of fatal airliner accidents on Friday 13:

Interestingly enough, four of these accidents happened on October 13.

13 June 1947
A DC-4 of Pennsylvania-Central Airlines crashed near Charles Town, WV, USA, killing all 50 on board.

13 October 1950
An Air Atlas DC-3 crashed near Casablanca in Morocco, killing four of the seven on board.

13 March 1959
A Bristol 170 operated by Aviaco, crashed at Mahon, Spain, killing one passenger; 17 occupants survived.

13 October 1972 (1)
A Fairchild FH-227D of the Uruguayan Air Force, chartered to fly the Old Christians Club rugby union team from Montevideo, Uruguay to Chile. The airplane crashed in the Andes, killing 29. The survivors were found on December 20.

13 October 1972 (2)
On the same date, an Ilyushin 62 passenger jet of Aeroflot crashed near Moscow, killing all 174 on board.

13 October 1978
A DHC-6 Twin Otter turboprop crashed near Barrow, Alaska, killing one of the two persons on board.

13 December 1985
A Britten-Norman BN-2A Islander operated by Aviones de Panama crashed in the Yaviza Mountains, Panama, killing all seven on board.

13 December 2002
A Britten-Norman BN-2A Islander of Island Airways crashed near TepTep, Papua New Guinea, killing all eight on board.