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How to Survive a Plane Crash

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reju

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This was recently circulated via email by TOPSLINE

Commercial airlines around the world now carry nearly 2.5 billion passengers a year, and despite the inherent dangers of rocketing through the sky miles above the Earth in a very heavy piece of metal, these travelers are amazingly safe. In fact, the odds of dying on a commercial airline flight are as low as 9 million to 1! That said, a lot can go wrong at 33,000 feet above the ground, and if youre unlucky enough to be aboard when something does, the decisions you make could mean the difference between life and death. Keep in mind that about 95% of airplane crashes have survivors, so even if the worst does happen, your odds arent as bad as you might think.

1. Wear long pants, a long-sleeve t-shirt, and sturdy, comfortable, lace-up shoes. Of course you may want to be comfortable or professional-looking on a flight, but sandals or high heels make it hard to move quickly within the wreckage. Loose or elaborate clothing also poses a risk, as it can get snagged on obstacles in the close confines of a plane. If you know youre going to be flying over cold areas, dress appropriately, and consider keeping a jacket on your lap. Youll need to be able to stay warm if you survive the crash. Even if that is not a consideration, the more of your body is covered during impact, the less likely you are to receive serious injuries or burns. Cotton or wool clothing is also preferable as it is less flammable. Wool is preferable to cotton when flying over water, as wool does not lose its insulative properties to the degree cotton does when wet.

2. Book the right seats. Because the initial impact is most often survivable, the key to living to tell about a crash is frequently how quickly you can get out. To this end, its best to get seats as close as possible to an exit, and aisle seats are generally preferable. In addition, try to sit in the back of the plane. Passengers in the tail of the aircraft have 40% higher survival rates than those in the first few rows. Read the safety information card and pay attention to the preflight safety speech. Yes, youve heard it all before, and youll probably never need it, but if you keep your headphones on during the preflight instructions or ignore the safety card, youll be missing out on information that could be vital in the event of a crash. Dont assume you know it all already, either. Every type of airplane has different safety instructions. If you're sitting in an exit row, study the door and make sure you know how to open it if you need to. In normal circumstances the flight attendant will open the door, but if they are dead or injured, you'll need to do it.

3. Make a plan. If the plane is going to crash, you almost always have several minutes to prepare before impact. Use this time to once again review where the exits are, and try to count the number of seats between your row and the exit rowthat way youll know when youve reached the exit even if you cant see it. Assess the situation as well as possible. Try to determine what surface the plane will land on so you can customize your preparations. If youre going to be landing in water, for example, youll want to put your life vest ondont inflate it until youre out of the planeand if youre going to be landing in cold weather, you should try to get a blanket or jacket to keep you warm once outside. Keep your seatbelt securely fastened at all times. If the plane crashes while youre sleeping, youll be glad you kept your seatbelt on. In any case, make sure it is placed around you snugly before impact. Every centimeter of slack in your seatbelt triples the G-Force you'll experience in the crash, so keep it snug!

4. Brace yourself for impact. If you know youre going to crash, brace yourself. Return your seat back to its full upright position and assume one of two "brace positions. If the seat or bulkhead in front of you is close enough to easily reach, place one hand palm-down on the back of that seat, cross the other hand palm-down over the first hand, and rest your forehead against your hands (dont lace your fingers). It is also sometimes recommended to put your head directly against the seat in front of you and lace your fingers behind your head, tucking your upper arms against the sides of your head. If you dont have a seat close in front of you, bend forward and put your chest on your thighs and your head between your knees. Cross your wrists in front of your lower calves, and grab your ankles. In either position, your feet should be flat on the floor and further back than your knees to reduce injuries to your feet and legs, which you will need in order to successfully exit the craft after impact.

5. Remain calm. It can be easy to get swept up in the pandemonium immediately preceding and following a crash. Keep a cool head, though, and youre more likely to get out alive. Remember that even in the worst wrecks, you do have a chance of survival. Youll need to be able to think methodically and rationally to maximize that chance.

6. Put your oxygen mask on before assisting others. Youve probably heard this on every commercial flight youve been on, but its worth repeating. If the integrity of the cabin is compromised, you have only about 15 seconds (often less if youre a smoker or have circulatory or respiratory problems) to start breathing through your oxygen mask before you are rendered unconscious. While you may feel an impulse to first help your children or the elderly passenger sitting next to you, youll be no good to anyone if you dont remain conscious.

7. You can put somebody else's oxygen mask on even if they're unconscious.

8. Protect yourself from smoke. Fire and, more commonly, smoke is responsible for a large percentage of crash fatalities. The smoke in an airplane fire can be very thick and highly toxic, so cover your nose and mouth with a cloth to avoid breathing it in. If possible, moisten the cloth to provide extra protection.

9. Get out of the airplane as quickly as possible. Its critical to get out of the aircraft without delayif fire or smoke is present, you will generally have less than two minutes to safely exit the plane. Obey the flight attendants post-crash instructions. Flight attendants undergo rigorous training to make sure they know what to do in the event of a crash. If a flight attendant is able to instruct or assist yousometimes they wont be able to do so after a crashlisten to him or her, and cooperate to increase everyones chances of survival. Dont try to rescue your belongings. Its common sense, but still some people dont seem to get it. Leave everything behind. It will only slow you down. Make sure the exit you choose is safe. Look through the window to determine if there is fire or some other hazard outside of an exit. If there is, try the exit across the plane, or proceed to another set of exits.

10. Get at least 500 feet upwind from the aircraft. If youre stranded in a remote area, the best thing to do usually is to stay close to the aircraft to await rescuers. You dont want to be too close, though. Fire or explosion can result at any time after a crash, so put some distance between you and the plane. If the crash is in open-water, swim as far away from the plane wreckage as possible.

Tips
If you have no time to prepare for the crash and you forget some of these instructions, you can find much of the most important information in the safety card in the seat back pocket in front of you.

Learn how to survive a fall from heights. Its very rare for an aircraft to break apart in midair, but it does happen. If thats the case, your only chance of survival may be successfully free falling, since commercial airliners dont have parachutes.

Remain in the brace position until the plane comes to a complete stop, a secondary impact or bounce will often follow the initial impact. In the event of a water landing, remove your shoes and excess clothes before or immediately after entering the water. This will make swimming and floating easier. While its essential to stay calm after a crash, you also need to be careful not to cope with negative panic. Negative panic is a strange inability to react assertively and appropriately to the situation. For example, a person may just remain in his or her seat instead of heading toward the exit. Watch out for this in your fellow passengers or traveling companions.

The one exception to the leave everything behind rule may be a jacket or blanket, and you should only consider carrying that if you have it ready to go at impact. While having appropriate clothing may save your life if youre stranded for a while, you first have to get out of the aircraft safely.

If you can find a pillow or something similarly soft to protect your head during impact, use it.

Its quite common for people to forget how to unbuckle their seatbelts after a crash. It seems easy enough, but in your dazed condition the first instinct is often to try to push a button as you would for a car seatbelt. When that doesnt work, its easy to panic. Before impact, make a mental note to remember how to quickly and easily unbuckle your seatbelt.

Place your baggage beneath the seat in front of you. It can help prevent your legs from snapping under the seat.

Remove sharp objectspens, pencils, etc.from your pockets before a crash. Better yet, dont carry them at all. Nearly any loose object on a plane can become a deadly projectile in the event of a crash.

If you have nothing to moisten a cloth with (in order to protect yourself from smoke inhalation), you can use urine. This sort of breach of decorum is perfectly acceptable in such a situation.

When considering what to wear, opt for natural fabrics with a tight weave (i.e. denim).

Discreetly notify a flight attendant before take-off if you see person or persons behaving in a suspicious or irrational manner.

Read all emergency measures information. Don't just toss it aside. It really is useful.


Warnings
Avoid wearing synthetic fabrics while traveling by plane. If a fire breaks out in the cabin, these materials will melt to your skin.

Avoid excessive alcohol consumption before or during a flight. Alcohol impairs your ability to quickly and methodically react to the crash and evacuate the plane.

Never hold your infant or toddler on your lap. While it may be cheaper than buying a seat, your child is almost guaranteed not to survive if you are holding him or her. Get a seat for your child and use an approved child restraint system.

Dont get down on the floor of the plane. If there is smoke in the cabin, try to stay low, but do not crawl. You will likely be trampled or injured by other passengers attempting to escape in the low-visibility conditions.

Dont push other passengers. An orderly exit increases everybodys chance of survival, and if you panic and start shoving, you may be faced with retaliation.

Air accident investigators frequently comment on casualties having both legs broken below the knee. (e.g. after the UK Kegworth crash). Having both legs broken does not improve one's exit capabilities and appears to be caused by the 'brace' position encouraging passengers to tuck their legs under their seat. At impact the legs fly forward and are broken by the seat back of the seat in front. Put your legs straight out in front of you.
 

Jith77

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"If you have no time to prepare for the crash and you forget some of these instructions, you can find much of the most important information in the safety card in the seat back pocket in front of you. "

LOL!!!
 

gobble

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I always prepare for impact when I book tickets itself ... :)
and BTW the seats above the wing is safest as it is the structurally the strongest part of an airplane.

I think you were trying to herd us to the back at the tail so you would always get the wing seat when you booked .... clever boy! :)

Cheers
 

mahiruha

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Hello Reju,
its a interesting reading. Air crash investigation is ony my favourite subject. I have watched all the episodes in National Geographic many times. Apart from televison I watch them in youtube also. After watching all these stuff and the level of efficiency I witness in India on a day to day basis I just wonder why there are so few accidents in India. In last few years the number of budget air carriers has increased so much I am not sure how much money is being spent on ATC training and improving the overall infrastructure to ensure passenger safety. So whenever I take a flight I just assume that I am just lucky if I reach my destination. Regarding how to survive a plane crush if I just take a probabbilistic calculation regarding total number of poeple facing air crash to number people actually survived i guess we will just get such a samll probability of survival, it just can be attributed to good fortune.But the things you have have suggested if somebody follows them he should be happy after death that at least he took precaution to not to die.
Happy flying without worries,
Mahiruha.
 

reju

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I have had nightmares many times about plane crashes. Not my plane, but me watching some plane coming down from sky...it's horrible. I wonder if anyone else have such nightmares?

After the recent Air France crash, there have been some emails circulating claiming to be picture takes by a passenger just before the plane crashed.
Actually it was nothing but a scene for the "Lost" TV serial (season 1):rolleyes:

You are right Mahiruha, air traffic has increased a lot. And this has also lead to many near misses at airports. There have been cases reported in Mumbai papers, now and then.

Let's hope and pray that we never face a need to survive a plane crash!

Happy flying!

@gobble, actually if we all take up the rear seats then who will sit in middle and front seats? So we need people who think like you as well;)

Some people take up front rows because they think they can get off faster...:)
 

psychotropic

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hey reju i have them as well....watching planes come down from the sky.....either in an airport watching a taking off plane come down, or at home or elsewhere hearing the deafening noise, coming out and watching (or running away from) the stricken aircraft....

yeah i am also obsessively interested in air disasters. Do you know that the Chennai airport does not have a ground radar? and that apron control relies on visual information to ascertain which aircraft are in which parts of the airfield? (to emphasize the seriousness of this one of the critical causes of the worst air accident in history, the tenerife disaster, was that at that time, in the 70s, the los rodeos airport [as it was then known] did not have a ground radar....this was rectified later, but in India we haven't learnt these lessons).

India is a recklessly crazy country when it comes to air safety and many of our busy airports are missing critical safety equipment, in addition to having overworked and underpaid ATCs....we have "near misses" all the time. The crying shame of this country is that people will take things seriously only AFTER a disaster, never in anticipation.

I have had nightmares many times about plane crashes. Not my plane, but me watching some plane coming down from sky...it's horrible. I wonder if anyone else have such nightmares?

After the recent Air France crash, there have been some emails circulating claiming to be picture takes by a passenger just before the plane crashed.
Actually it was nothing but a scene for the "Lost" TV serial (season 1):rolleyes:

You are right Mahiruha, air traffic has increased a lot. And this has also lead to many near misses at airports. There have been cases reported in Mumbai papers, now and then.

Let's hope and pray that we never face a need to survive a plane crash!

Happy flying!

@gobble, actually if we all take up the rear seats then who will sit in middle and front seats? So we need people who think like you as well;)

Some people take up front rows because they think they can get off faster...:)
 

reju

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hey reju i have them as well....watching planes come down from the sky.....either in an airport watching a taking off plane come down, or at home or elsewhere hearing the deafening noise, coming out and watching (or running away from) the stricken aircraft....

Hey too much similarity...this is exactly how it happens even in my dreams!! You have detailed it well.

These dreams are strange, though I am not really scared to fly as such....only little tense maybe. But it's OK...always comfort myself with statistics:)
 

realactivex

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Sometimes, when we fly out of Heathrow, we come across the grounded Concordes close to the taxiway.. Sometimes i adore those machines.. but there are a few times when i think of the concorde crash (supposedly the safest passenger plane with no accidents for a long stretch of time) and thats when i shiver. This shiver sometimes continues till we are at cruise altitude and the hostesses call for drinks :)
 

psychotropic

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i used to dream of flying in the concorde....when i was a child.....it pains me that i will never be able to. But I am hoping that in my lifetime there will be more supersonic passenger aircraft developed.

Sometimes, when we fly out of Heathrow, we come across the grounded Concordes close to the taxiway.. Sometimes i adore those machines.. but there are a few times when i think of the concorde crash (supposedly the safest passenger plane with no accidents for a long stretch of time) and thats when i shiver. This shiver sometimes continues till we are at cruise altitude and the hostesses call for drinks :)
 

star

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Thanks for this article.Being a frqunt flyr its very useful 4 me. Thanks once again
 
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