Airline Accident Death Toll Rises

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While U.S. airlines celebrated a fatality-free 2002, the same could not be said for the rest of the world. In fact, new figures released by Flight International magazine reveal the number of people dying in airline accidents rose last year for the first time since 1996. There were 1,022 fatalities in 2002, compared with 778 in 2001. The number of airline accidents involving deaths also increased -- from 33 in 2001 to 40. Until last year, accident numbers had been reducing steadily each year since 1996. [more] Still, the overall trend for the past six years still shows gradually improving safety, and the figures for 2002 remain below the annual average for thepreceding decade. Europe, North America and Australasia showed continued overall good safety while other areas experienced a rise in their accident numbers. Geographic centers responsible for the poorest showing, according to the report, include Taiwan, Russia, Africa and South America.