Plane crashes over water

So I’m going on a four hour flight in a couple of days and…well, to say I’m a bad flyer would be quite an understatement. The thing which freaks me out more than any aspct of the experience is the fear of crashing over water. Would any knowledgeable doper be able to tell me if a Western commercial jet has ever crashed in water and, if so, how many times it’s happened?

Much obliged.

Flying is easy. Landing are hard, and take offs are hard. The hard part of the flights are over land.
Other than that 767 that got hijacked and ran out of fuel because the hijackers did not believe the pilot when he told them he did not have enough fuel, I can’t think of a case of a plane crashing over water recently.
Lost and Castaway don’t count.

I hit submit too soon.
TWA 800 explosion in the center fuel tank
Swissair fire in the wiring harness, possibly traceable to the entertainment system that was not certified.

TWA 800 had already broken up by the time it hit the water, so I don’t know if it was really a crash in the sense the OP is looking for. George, water landings (or crashes for that matter) are extremely rare. Actually, plane crashes of any kind are extremely rare. Statistically, you’re far more likely to be killed on the ground than in an aeroplane.

Air Florida Flight 90

I’ve always heard that pilots are told to crash in water if at all possible, to avoid the risk of killing people who are on the land. On 9/11, people were wondering why the first pilot didn’t crash into the Hudson River.

There are plenty of crashes that happen on lakes or oceans, but usually the circumstances of the crash are such that it wouldn’t have mattered whether the aircraft was over land or over water. Examples would be EgyptAir 990, TWA 800, or SwissAir 111. If you’re more interested in incidents where airliners have been forced to intentionally ditch in a body of water, there are fewer of those; Wikipedia has a list of five such incidents dating back to 1950. Note that you have to go back fifty years to find such an incident on an airline which was based in a “Western” (by which I’m assuming you mean First-World and industrialized) country.

I know you’ve probably heard of this, but you really are safer in the plane. In a car, you’re traveling in very unregulated space. You don’t trust very much that the people next to you are sober, awake, have performed proper maintenence, are decent drivers in general.

In a plane, you’re guided by people with a difficult professional license, who almost certainly aren’t drunk or tired, aided by autopilots, with co-pilot backup, and everything’s run by an industry whose greatest fear is news of something going wrong.

Is there a Western airline? I can’t find them on these pages, but you might like them:
http://www.airsafe.com/airline.htm
http://www.planecrashinfo.com/rates.htm
http://flyingfans.tripod.com/airlineratings.html

George, I’m a horrible flyer as well.

Somehow on this last trip (my honeymoon, actually) I realized that my being scared during the flight wasn’t helping anything and that I had a choice to spend the time I was in a plane terrified or not. Thinking about this seemed to work for me. A couple of times I started to get nervous and I’d remind myself that the only thing being afraid was doing was making me unhappy, and I would relax again.

Maybe that’ll help.

Y’know, that’s just what Superman was telling me the other day!

Clive Cussler searched a number of Rocky Mountain lakes for aircraft that might have made emergency landings on frozen lakes in wintertime over the years, thinking they were meadows, and then were lost when the ice gave way. He used the premise to good advantage in his book Vixen 03.

I’m wondering why a water crash is more terrifying to you than a land crash. Are you thinking of thrashing around in deep water till you eventually drown? It doesn’t happen like that. In a water crash you’re pretty much instantaneously dead on impact, just like a land crash.

JFK Jr. died in a plane water crash, along with wife and sister in law. But it wasn’t a commercial flight, so it’s disqualified.

Alaska Air had a plane crash into the Pacific just off Point Magu in early 2000, returning from Mexico. I remember it, since we had flown to and from Mexico in late '99 and were wondering if we had been on the same plane that later crashed.

When I sold life insurance, if you were any kind of a new pilot, it was a heavy item on your cost. You could either pay the increased rating, or sign a clause that your beneficiary was not paid if your death related to your piloting. They weren’t big rock climbing or parachuting fans, either, and this was one of the majors, not a quacky upstart. I remember a team member actually signed up a Busch series racer, and that wasn’t cheap.