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Among the deadliest air disasters in world history:

JULY 17, 1996
On July 17, 1996 TWA Flight 800 exploded over the Atlantic Ocean near New York, 12 minutes after takeoff, killing all 230 people onboard. This is considered the third-deadliest aviation accident in United States history. An NTSB investigation indicates the accident was likely due to flammable fuel vapors in the fuel tank sparked by a short circuit. This disaster now shares an anniversary with MH17.

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JUNE 1, 2009
Air France Flight 447 went down during a flight from Brazil to Paris on June 1, 2009, resulting in the deaths of all 216 passengers and 12 crewmembers. Recovery efforts were hampered because the plane went down on a deep section of the Atlantic Ocean. The wreckage and the black boxes from the plane were not recovered from the ocean floor until May 2011.

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MARCH 27, 1977
The largest commercial air disaster happened on March 27, 1977, off the coast of West Africa on the island of Tenerife, killing 583 people. Two Boeing 747 jumbo jets, one owned by KLM and the other by Pan Am, collided in thick fog on the runway at Los Rodeos airport.

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NOVEMBER 12, 2001
Just two months after 9/11, American Airlines Flight 587, on its way to the Dominican Republic, crashed in Queens, N.Y., just after taking off from John F. Kennedy International airport, killing all 260 people onboard and five people on the ground. The NTSB concluded that the cause of the crash was overuse of the rudder mechanism.

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OCTOBER 31, 1999
On Oct. 31, 1999, EgyptAir Flight 990 from Los Angeles to Cairo crashed in the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 217 people onboard. An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board found that the Egyptian pilot brought the plane down intentionally. However, the Egyptian Civil Aviation Agency determined that the plane crashed because of to a mechanical failure.

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SEPTEMBER 2, 1998
On Sept. 2, 1998, all 229 people aboard Swissair Flight 111 died when the plane, flying from New York to Switzerland, crashed in the Atlantic Ocean southwest of Halifax, Canada. The captain was unable to tame a fire that started above the ceiling in the cockpit and eventually lost control of the plane amid the spreading fire and smoke.

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Photos from MH17's crash:

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