There is no question that the crash of Asiana Airlines flight 214 is tragic and we are all looking forward to finding out exactly what happened. As more facts and opinions come in about the crash, here are just some of my raw thoughts:
- It is not a miracle: I have been reading quite a bit about how so many people survived was a “miracle.” I am not trying to say that this was not amazing, but I think by just saying it was a “miracle,” really down plays all the hard work and effort that so many people have put in through the years to increase the chances of surviving an accident. Thousands of people have died from airline accidents and after each accident every aspect of the business is made safer. There have been many smart people in aerospace that have designed and built aircraft, the items inside and airports in ways to reduce the likelihood of injuries and deaths. Finally, the passengers & crew on flight 214 and the emergency responders on the ground did an amazing job evacuating everyone. Even with the speculation that a fire truck might have been involved with one of the two deaths, the quick response and evacuation saved lives [read a good detailed account via the WSJ and Philly.com]. Call it a miracle if you must, but also be sure to follow up by appreciating the people that helped to keep this accident from being worse.
- A little perspective: It is no question that the two deaths from this crash and those who will forever be scarred is no small thing. I cannot imagine what the family of those who were lost are going through and by no means am I trying to down play these loses. We are all lucky to be in a time where an accident like this does not cause more deaths. Statistically, in the US there are about 90 people who die each day in auto accidents. This is far, far less than even a fraction of the fatalities we see from airline accidents. Flying is still very safe and will only continue to become safer.
- Try not to give passengers with bags a hard time: There has been quite a bit of harassment given to those passengers who were seen evacuating the 777 with their carry-on bags (see the photo here). At first glance I can see how that is bad and it might seem they are trying to be selfish by bringing their belongings. However, most of them are probably not thinking logically and are in some form of shock. I, by no means have experienced something this horrific, but when I had an opportunity to sit-in at evacuation training with Air Tran a few years back, I experienced a similar confusion. I knew it was not real, I knew what was going to happen, but the dark, the smoke pumped in the fuselage and the yelling caused genuine chaos for me. Even though I was being told to grab my life vest, I forgot it at my seat. I could easily see how someone who might have just gone through something that horrific, not knowing what to do, might grab their luggage out of habit. At least I hope this is the case.
- Most covered airline accident: This will likely be the best [or at least most] covered airline crash in the US that we have ever seen. Already, we have been able to see photos from a perspective rarely seen before: from the ground outside the plane, video of the crash and close up shots from the NTSB via Twitter. All this information should allow for a speedy and thorough investigation, but it also allows for more speculation. Sometimes talking through ideas is not always a bad thing, but it is hard to make final conclusions without having all the evidence.
- Do not hate too much on the media: There seems to be quite a bit of frustration from #AvGeeks on how some in the media are handling this incident and have improper facts. Realize that most journalists do not specialize in aviation and are doing their best to fill time with information and commentary live and that is not an easy feat.
- The NTSB is doing a great job: I just want to give a shout out to the NTSB for doing an amazing job during their press conferences and even via their Twitter account at keeping the media and general public informed. The best way to battle mis-information is to be actively giving out the proper information and the NTSB seems to be delivering.
I could take months before we know the whole picture or it might take a few days. Until then, let’s have a healthy conversation of our thoughts with this accident and let’s hope we can learn more to continue to make air travel even safer.
|This story written by… David Parker Brown, Editor & Founder.David started AirlineReporter.com in the summer of 2008, but has had a passion for aviation since he was a kid. Born and raised in the Seattle area (where he is currently based) has surely had an influence and he couldn’t imagine living anywhere else in the world.|