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Barb Graff, Director

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Transportation

In a city known for aviation, the majority of Seattle's major transportation disasters have involved aircraft. Seattle's deadliest human-caused disaster was an aircraft accident. 32 people died in 1943 when a bomber struck a building in SoDo area. Two more crashes occurred in the next eight years causing 18 more fatalities. All involved military aircraft. Since 1951 there hasn't been a major incident, but there have been a couple of close calls.

Sometimes, a major accident doesn't have to occur within our boundaries to have a major effect on our community. Accidents involving large numbers of Seattle residents or involving Seattle-based firms can be major emergencies, too.

Major Incidents

Year

Event

Location(s)

Impacts

2001

Charter Plane

Mexico

16 Seattle-area residents perish

2000

Alaska 261

California Coast

83 fatalies

1984

Near collision - private plane and Air Force Two

Boeing Field

None

1951

B-50 Crash

SoDo

11 fatalities

1949

C-46 Crash

Georgetown

7 fatalies

1943

B-29 Crash

SoDo

32 fatalities

Issues to Note

Seattle is served by two major airports, Sea-Tac and King County International Airport (Boeing Field). Sea-Tac is the major passenger facility and is located south of the city. However, many of its flights pass directly over Seattle. King County International Airport is in the Duwamish Valley and overlaps the municipal boundary. Most of its flights are general aviation, charter, cargo and aircraft industry activity.

Nationally, 75% of all accidents involve general aviation (private aircraft) and 25% involve commuter, charter, and scheduled airlines. The majority of accidents occur immediately after take-off and before landing. The FAA acknowledges this danger and requires airports to create special emergency plans that detail how they would respond to a crash within five miles of their boundaries.

Boeing Field no longer sees the high volume of military aircraft traffic that it did during World War II and the immediate Post-War period so that vulnerability has decreased. The areas immediately north of it remain the most likely areas to be affected by a crash, however since planes fly over them at low altitudes.

On the Web

Alaska Airlines 261 - National Transportation Safety Board Report.


During an emergency, go to www.seattle.gov for the latest information.


Emergency:
Dial 911
Non-Emergency Police:
206-625-5011
Non-Emergency Fire:
206-386-1400


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