Preliminary remarks

The aim of aviation accident and incident investigations is to provide the basis for the prevention of future similar accidents and serious incidents by clarifying the circumstances and causes.

The legal assessment of the accident or incident does not form part of the investigation or the investigation reports.

The following annual statistics include all accidents reported by Swiss-registered civilian aircraft at home and abroad, as well as foreign aircraft in Switzerland.

Accidents involving parachutes, hang-gliders, kites, paragliders, captive balloons, unmanned free balloons and model aircraft are not subject to investigation.


Here you will find a few terms which are used in relation with aircraft accidents and incidents:

Aircraft accident

An occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft, as long as a person is aboard the aircraft with the intention of flight:

  • in which a person in or outside the aircraft is seriously or fatally injured, or
  • in which the aircraft sustains damage which substantially affects structural strength, performance or flight characteristics and which normally requires major repair or the replacement of the affected component;
  • in which the aircraft is missing or the wreckage is inaccessible.

The following events are not considered as aircraft accidents:

Casualties and injuries not directly associated with the operation of an aircraft; casualties and injuries to persons who without authorisation have entered areas not designated for access by crews and passengers; moreover engine failures and damage limited to only one engine, its accessories or to the propeller blades; damage to fairings; slight deformation of or puncture holes in the aircraft skin; damage to the wing or rotor blade tips, antennas, tires or brakes.

Serious injury

An injury which is sustained by a person in an accident and which:

  • within 7 days requires hospitalisation for more than 48 hours;
  • involves a fracture of any bone except simple fractures of fingers, toes or the nose;
  • involves lacerations which cause severe haemorrhage, nerve, muscle or tendon
  • results in damage to any internal organ;
  • involves second or third degree burns or any burns affecting more than 5 percent of the body surface;
  • iis the result of verified exposure to infectious substances or injurious radiation.

Fatal injury

Serious injury leading to death within thirty days after the aircraft accident.

Large aeroplane

An aeroplane which has a maximum allowable take-off weight of at least 5700 kg, is classified in the airworthiness category Standard, sub-category transport, or has more than 10 seats for passengers and crew.

State of Registry

The State on whose register the aircraft is entered.

State of Manufacture

The State or the States having certified the airworthiness of the prototype (type).

State of the Operator

The State in which the operator's principal place of business or permanent residence is located.

Serious incident

Occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft under circumstances which nearly led to an accident.

Examples of serious incidents (this list is not exhaustive and serves only as a guidance for the definition of the term "serious incidents"):

  • Near collisions requiring an avoidance manoeuvre to avoid a collision or an unsafe situation or when an avoidance action would have been appropriate;
  • Controlled flight into terrain only marginally avoided;
  • Aborted take-offs on a closed or engaged runway;
  • Take-offs from a closed or engaged runway with marginal separation from obstacle(s);
  • Landings or attempted landings on a closed or engaged runway;
  • Gross failures to achieve predicted performance during take-off or initial climb;
  • Fires and smoke in the passenger compartment, in cargo compartments or engine fires, even though such fires were extinguished by the use of extinguishing agents;
  • Events requiring the emergency use of oxygen by the flight crew;
  • Aircraft structural failures or engine disintegrations not classified as an accident;
  • Multiple malfunctions of one or more aicraft systems seriously affecting the operation of the aircraft;
  • Flight crew incapacitation in flight;
  • Fuel quantity requiring the declaration of an emergency by the pilot;
  • Take-off or landing incidents; incidents such as undershooting, overrunning or running off the side of runways;
  • System failures, weather phenomena, operations outside the approved flight envelope or other occurences which could have caused difficulties controlling the aircraft;
  • Failures of more than one system in a redundancy system mandatory for flight guidance and navigation.

Yearly statistics: Since 2012, the statistics are integrated in the annual report



a. accident means any event resulting in a fatal or serious injury, considerable property damage or a major accident as defined in the Major Accidents Ordinance of 27 February 199110;

b. serious incident means any event that would have led to an accident had it not been prevented by automatic safety precautions;

c. fatal injury means any injury sustained by a person in an accident which results in his or her death within 30 days of the date of the accident;

d. serious injury means any injury sustained by a person in an accident the treatment of which necessitates hospitalisation for more than 24 hours;

e. minor injury means any injury that necessitates out-patient treatment;

f. considerable property damage means property damage that is a direct consequence of an accident, the value of which ex-ceeds 50 000 francs in the case of cableways or 180 000 francs in the case of all other forms of transport;

g. substantial incident means any incident that interrupts the operation of a line for at least six hours;

h. exceptional event means any event due to the technical failure of safety-related installations or to inadequate or defective safety measures or to safety-related human error;

i. dangerous goods event means any event under Section 1.8.5 of the Regulations concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Rail (RID)11, Annex C to the Convention of 9 May 198012 concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF) in the version of the Protocol of Modification of 3 June 199913;

j. signal case means any event in which part of a train or a shunting operation travels beyond the permitted endpoint of the journey.

Yearly statistics: Since 2012, the statistics are integrated in the annual report.

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Last edition: 03.12.2019