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Preventing plane-assisted suicides through the lessons of research on homicide and suicide–homicide

  • Timothy R Rice (a1) and Leo Sher (a1)



The Germanwings 9525 incident drew significant attention to the ‘plane-assisted suicide’ construct, yet little scientific literature exists on this topic. This paper reviews the available literature and applies lessons from the suicide-homicide and men’s mental health literature to better understand this construct from a scientific perspective.


A systematic review of the relevant clinical literature was undertaken.


Multiple lines of evidence suggests the applicability and relevance of suicide-homicide research and men’s mental health to the plane-assisted suicide phenomenon. Plane-assisted suicides occur within an overwhelmingly male, middle aged population who, in addition to suicide, commit large scale acts of murder. Issues of divorce, separation, and threats to masculinity appear integral to an effective prevention program.


Further research in the understanding of plane-assisted suicide as a product of neuropsychiatric disorder may advance such prevention efforts and have the opportunity to reduce the loss of life in future tragedies.


Corresponding author

Timothy Rice, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, One Gustave L. Levy Place, Box 1230, New York, NY 10029, USA. Tel: +212.241.7175; Fax: +212.241.9311; E-mail:


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Preventing plane-assisted suicides through the lessons of research on homicide and suicide–homicide

  • Timothy R Rice (a1) and Leo Sher (a1)


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