Plane crash deaths rise in 2018 but accidents are still rare

Wreckage is recovered from Lion Air Flight 610, which crashed into the sea off Indonesia in October.

(CNN)The number of people killed in plane crashes jumped in 2018 compared with the previous year, with more than 500 deaths recorded, new figures show.

Nonetheless, 2018 was still one of the safest years for commercial aviation on record, according to reports from Dutch aviation consultancy To70 and the Netherlands-based Aviation Safety Network (ASN).
The ASN recorded a total of 15 fatal airliner accidents in 2018, leading to 556 deaths, compared with 10 accidents and 44 lives lost in 2017, the safest year in aviation history.
    Of those accidents, 12 involved passenger flights and three were cargo flights, the ASN report said. Three of the 15 planes were operated by airlines on the European Union "blacklist," it said.
      Despite the jump in the number of deaths last year, ASN Chief Executive Harro Ranter said the level of aviation safety had increased significantly overall.
      "If the accident rate had remained the same as 10 years ago, there would have been 39 fatal accidents last year," he said. The rate of the year 2000 would have seen 64 fatal accidents. "This shows the enormous progress in terms of safety in the past two decades," Ranter added.
      The figures for 2018 represent a rate of one fatal accident for every 3 million flights, said To70.
        The consultancy highlighted the Lion Air crash off Indonesia in October -- in which 189 people lost their lives -- as the deadliest single incident for the year. The aircraft involved was a brand new Boeing 737 MAX plane.