Nov. 15 (UPI) -- The number of persons killed last year in plane crashes in the United States climbed by nearly 15 percent, the nation's top civil aviation investigators say in a new report.
The National Transportation Safety Board said in the compilation report that 393 people died in crashes in 2018 -- an increase of 13 percent over 2017. The statistics were posted Thursday.
The majority of the deaths, 381, died in general aviation or private aircraft crashes, the NTSB said. That's an increase of 50 over 2017.
The year 2018 also saw the first death aboard a commercial civilian airliner in 10 years -- Jennifer Riordan, who was partly pulled out of a window when a Southwest Airlines flight depressurized in flight. Investigators later found that an engine cowling broke loose and punctured the passenger cabin.
There were 12 deaths last year on on-demand flights, or those involving air taxis, charters, air tours and medical services.
"It is disappointing to see the fatal general aviation accident rate increase after two years with the rate below 1.0 per 100,000 flight hours," said NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt. "[Aviation] communities need to renew their emphasis on building and sustaining a safety culture."
The report did not specify possible reasons for the increase in aviation deaths.