The world had been shocked after a plane crash in Colombia and killed 71 people, including players for one of Brazil’s top football team. Only six people survived the crash. Investigations are still going on as to how the plane crashed. With an incredibly high rate of fatalities, questions have been popped as to how some have somehow survived the crash.
Aircraft accidents are extremely rare. 1 out of 3.5 million flights are caught in an accident according to the 2015 survey of International Air Transport Association. This is an achievement for an industry that transports people at high speed, not to mention the oftentimes tough and challenging transport environment. When an accident does occur, there are factors that determine how some people become survivors, and some become just the remains.
The first factor is the survival possibility of the accident. Of course, there are accidents that really seemed “unsurvivable” no matter how cautious and expert you are. These impossible to survive situations include those with catastrophic loss of control and those falling from a high velocity impact.
The timing of action and response to a loss of control is one great factor that determines the rate of crash survival. Take for example the Air France aircraft which lose control of the flight and crashed into Atlantic in 2009, leaving no survivor because of the heavy impact in the sea; or the United Airlines DC10 in 1989 which lost all their hydraulic systems aboard but however heroically spared 185 out of 296 from the crash because of the crew’s initiative to steer the aircraft using only the thrust of the engines.
Crashing into terrains or those troubles that crew are unaware of are some instances that are not survivable. Occurring at high speed and unprepared passengers leads to high levels of fatality. Survival can be as random as whether they are thrown clear or caught in a tree. Take for example the 4 survivors from JAL Boeing 747 in 1985 and clearly killed 520 others when the plane crashed the mountainside.
The European Transport Safety Council estimates that 90% of air accidents are survivable. Though it may not match the public’s expectations, aircraft nowadays are built to endure accident crash. Plane structures are built better to survive and cope with impact. Such as include less flammable materials, stronger seatbelts, clearer exit signs and more effective suppression system.
Though there are varied factors that determine whether you’ll survive or not, one thing is for sure, securing seatbelts definitely increases your chance of survival. Listening to safety instructions and not panicking is also a great help. Most of all, passengers should always be vigilant of the situation.