December 4, 1977 - The worst plane crash to have ever happened in Malaysia, when 100 passengers and crew died when flight MH653 crashed into a swamp in Tanjong Kupang in Johor. The Boeing 737-200 was reported to have been hijacked while descending towards Subang airport, at around 7.54pm, when the captain informed the control tower of an unidentified hijacker.
He later informed the tower that they were en-route to Singapore, before all communications were lost at around 8.15pm. The fatalities included the-then Agriculture Minister Datuk Ali Ahmad and Cuban Ambassador to Japan Mario Garcia. The reasons behind the hijacking are not known to this day.
December 18, 1983 - Flight MH 684 from Singapore crashed two kilometres short of the runway at Subang airport at 7.20pm. The captain attempted to land the Airbus 300-B4 in heavy rain, clipping some trees on its descent before and the right landing gear struck the ground. There were no fatalities, but the plane was damaged beyond repair.
September 15, 1995 - Thirty-four people died when flight MH2133 overshot the runway at Tawau airport, crashing into a shantytown when it attempted to carry out a go-around. Investigations found that the Fokker 50 crash was due to pilot error.
Other major incidents
March 15, 2000 - An Airbus A330-300 servicing the MH085 route between Beijing and Kuala Lumpur was damaged during unloading of cargo at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The plane was damaged by a chemical called oxalyl chloride, which leaked out of a canister during unloading and caused five ground staff to fall ill. The plane was written-off. A Chinese company, which falsely declared the corrosive chemicals, was ordered to pay USD65 million (RM211.9 million) plus interest over the incident.
August 1, 2005 - Flight MH124 was forced to perform an emergency landing at Perth Airport after the crew reported a software malfunction when the Boeing 777-2H6ER plane had attempted to gain altitude after takeoff. The plane, which was en route to Kuala Lumpur, encountered problems with its instrumentation, forcing the pilot to take manual control of the plane. The plane landed without incident.
December 17, 2013 - Flight MH170, flying in from Jakarta, experienced severe turbulence as it prepared to land at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, due to an air vortex caused by an earlier landing by an Airbus A380 super jumbo. The vortex caused the Boeing 737-800 to pitch down and to the sides during its descent, but was quickly brought under control by the pilot and landed safely.
* Source: Aviation Safety Network, The Star