Emergency Aircraft Ditchings
Incidents of aircraft landing on bodies of water are rare, especially
for large passenger liners. However, it has happened and happened
successfully. This page provides links to stories of and
information about water landings. See FAQ #14
for a list of water ditchings that people survived.
This is a first person narrative by an ex-Air Force chaplain describing his experience in preparing for emergency landings first on the water then on
land before finally arriving safely at an airport. Murray Dixon is a personal friend of Bert Schlossberg.
This article from The AirSafe Journal, November 28, 1996, and revised September 7, 2001, describes the successful ditching of three passenger
This article by Andrew Adamson, September 3, 1998, from the Discovery Channel Canada web site describes how modern
airliners are designed to be able to land on water.
This article by Richard L. Newman was prepared in November 1986 and revised
June 12, 1994. It is an extensive discussion of landing aircraft of all types on water. The article begins with the author's own experience in a
light airplane. It reviews the history of US aircraft ditchings; analyzes types of aircraft,
fatalities, etc.; and discusses safety procedures.
It is clear from all of the above that the emergency landing of aircraft,
both large and small, on water is possible and that it can be and has been
done without significant loss of life.