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French A320 crash likely doubled Lufthansa's historic death toll

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The Airbus A320 crash in the French Alps on Tuesday seems likely to have doubled the number of people killed on Deutsche Lufthansa AG planes in the previous 60 years.

[FRANKFURT] The Airbus A320 crash in the French Alps on Tuesday seems likely to have doubled the number of people killed on Deutsche Lufthansa AG planes in the previous 60 years.

Some 150 passengers and crew are thought to have died on the flight operated by Lufthansa's Germanwings arm, compared with 146 fatalities in five other crashes since the company was refounded in 1955 after being grounded following World War II.

Like other leading European carriers, Lufthansa has long regarded its safety record as a strong selling point. It also boasts a business - Lufthansa Technik - that's the world's biggest independent provider of aircraft maintenance, performing checks and repairs for dozens of other airlines.

Lufthansa's worst crash before this week was in 1974 when a Boeing Co 747-100 came down soon after takeoff in Nairobi, having departed with its wing slats in the wrong position. The impact killed 59 passengers and crew, though 97 survived.

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The second-deadliest incident killed the 46 people aboard a Convair CV-440 turbo-prop that crashed beyond the runway in the German city of Bremen after an aborted landing in 1966, while 36 died in 1959 after a Lockheed Super Constellation, Lufthansa's flagship model, struck the sea on approach to Rio de Janeiro before hitting a beach. There were three survivors.

A Boeing 707 operating for Lufthansa Cargo also crashed in Rio in 1979, killing all three crew members, while in the most recent incident, an Airbus Group NV A320 like the one in the Germanwings tragedy overran the runway in Warsaw in 1993, claiming the lives of a pilot and one passenger.

The figures provided by Lufthansa exclude people dying of illness on its planes, as well as the 1977 hijacking of a Boeing 737, during which three hijackers murdered a crew member after diverting to Somalia, before themselves being killed.

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