What are the Odds
I'm sure you've all heard the saying 'your more likely to die in a car crash than in a plane crash.' That saying is actually true your chances of dieing in a commercial airplane accident are approximately 1 in 20,000, while your chances of dieing in a motor vehicle accident are 1 in 100. I've always had a fear of flying, but those statistics sound pretty good!
What are the Causes of Plane Crashes?
There are many reasons for a plane to come crashing down. The reported causes of plane accidents from 1929 - 2007 unfortunately show sabotage or explosive devices as the most reported cause with 51 reported plane crashes. Running out of fuel comes in second with 46. Next is 28 Hijackings (with fatalities) reported. Then cargo or cabin fire with 22 reported. Tied at fifth is air traffic control errors with 19 and design flaws also with 19 reported. Also making the list is 14 by lightning strikes, 12 by pilot incapacitation and last 7 reports of bird strikes.
When Does the Plane Crash?
When do you think the plane is more likely to crash? During take off/climb, cruise or final approach/landing? Well, most plane crashes happen during the final approach/landing with 51% of the total accidents happening at this time. 17% of accidents happen during take off and 6% during the long cruise. Although most crashes happen during landing, your more likely to have a fatality during take off. 22% of fatalities are during take off.
September 2008 Plane Crashes
Plane Crashes are a lot more common than I thought. Just so far this month There have been 4 plane crashes, all with fatalities. On September 1st near Bukavu, Congo a humanitarian flight to Goma, crashed into a ridge 8 miles NW of Bukavu while approaching the airport for a landing in severe weather. All 17 aboard lost their lives. On September 3rd off Dubai, United Arab Emirates a helicopter crashed on to the deck of the Maersk Resilient oil drilling rig, broke up and fell into the sea 43 miles off Duabi with all 7 passengers dieing. On September 14th in Perm, Russia an aircraft crashed into a ravine adjacent to railroad tracks and near an apartment building as it was approaching Perm for a landing. The plane was at 3,600 when contact was lost with the tower. There were 88 aboard the airline with 88 fatalities. Then of course late Friday night in Columbia, South Carolina a plane was attempting to take off from Columbia Metropolitan Airport when it overran the runway, crashed through a perimeter fence, struck antennas and came to rest on an embankment adjacent to highway 32. Travis Barker, former drummer for Blink-182 and Adam Goldstein, also know as DJ AM were critically injured; two other passengers and two crew members were killed. Let's please keep Travis Barker, DJ AM, their families, and the families of the lives lost in our prayers.
Stupid Deadly Mistakes
Sometimes deadly mistakes are made in the aircraft industry that cause plane crashes. Like on March 27, 1979 a KLM Boeing 747 met a Pan Am Boeing 747 head on as they were both trying to negotiate the runway in dense fog. The KLM flight hadn’t waited for permission to depart and met the Pan Am flight, which did have permission to taxi along the runway. A total of 583 crew and passengers died because of the pilot’s defiance in not waiting for the order. This is the worst plane crash in European history. This is also the plane crash that I have pictured to the left of this entry. Another mistake made was on August 12, 1985 when 520 people were killed on the Japan Air Lines 747 that crashed by Mt Fuji. An aft bulkhead ruptured during the flight and seriously damaged the tail of the plane. This caused the plane to spiral out of control. It was human error, but not on the part of the pilot. The bulkhead had been repaired 7 years earlier and had been an accident waiting to happen ever since. The repairs had been botched and it was a wonder they had held for as long as they did. Unfortunately I found several mistakes made causing deadly crashes. I can't fit them all on here, but I will share one more of the 5 worst plane crases. In Riyadh on August 19, 1980 there were 301 people killed on board flight Saudia L-1011. Although the flight had taken off on its way to Karachi, it touched back down in Riyadh just after takeoff. It touched down safely but there was no evacuation. If the crew had have evacuated the passengers immediately nobody would have died, but as it was the plane’s engines continued to run and ultimately caused a flash fire to ravage the plane about 3 minutes after it landed. To this day, nobody knows why the crew failed to begin the evacuation procedures or how many lives it would have saved. Although this technically isn’t a plane crash, it’s still one of the biggest tragedies to ever occur on an airplane. I found a great list of plane crashes with dates, location and number of fatalities if you would like to read more.
I hope you learned a few random facts about plane crashes. I also hope I didn't scare you too much for your next flight! I found some great links if you would like to learn more about plane crashes. The links are for unusual accidents, list of famous deaths, and warning sounds.