IT’S everyone’s worst fear – booking a flight to go on holiday then getting in a plane crash.
What are the survival rates, are planes becoming safer to travel on and how can you stay safe if you find yourself in a crash?
Getty Images Plane travel has become increasingly safer over the last two decades
What are the survival rates for plane crashes?
Tom Farrier, a retired USAF rescue helicopter pilot, provided some figures on Quora.
“In 2016 there were about 163 aviation ‘accidents’ worldwide, including those involving business jets and military transports as well as jet and propeller airliners.
“A grand total of 24 resulted in fatalities, meaning only about 15 per cent of all accidents in this grouping – which themselves are extremely rare events – actually resulted in lives being lost.”
2017 was the safest year in history for commercial airlines, with no passenger plane crashes anywhere in the world – despite more flights being made than ever before.
2015 saw 471 fatalities, and 2014 had 864.
In 2013, there were 265 deaths relating to passengers on aircraft.
Aviation deaths have been falling for the last twenty years – in 2005, there were over 1000 deaths on commercial flights around the world.
Getty Images Many fatal plane crashes come about due to unlawful interference, which is sometimes caused by terrorism
How often do fatal injuries happen in plane crashes and what are the causes?
International aviation firm To70 found that fatal accidents occurred in just 0.18 per million flights, which equates to around one in every five million flights.
Dutch-based To70 said that a large percentage of fatal journeys arise from unlawful interference, with some incidents being due to acts of terrorism.
As well as the seven fatal plane incidents, there have also been 64 non-fatal accidents with civil passenger aircraft.
To70 spokesperson Adrian Young said: “The cases of unlawful interference warrant serious concern – two of the seven fatal incidents in 2016 appear to be acts of terrorism.
“The University of Maryland’s Global Terrorism Database shows 101 attacks on airports and aircraft in 2014 and 2015.
“These events and, from a European perspective, the attacks at Brussels airport in 2016 present a compelling case for shifting improvement efforts from aircraft safety to airport security.”
Top70 International aviation firm To70 found that fatal accidents occurred in just 0.18 per million flights
How can you increase your chance of survival if you’re in a plane crash?
- Brace for impact – get your torso as low as possible to reduce the impact, which can include flying forwards and hitting the seat or other parts of the plane
- Hold your legs or place your feet flat on the floor – this prevents injuries such as a broken leg below the knee due to your limbs flying into the seat in front of you
- Add additional protection to your head – cushioning the headrest with a pillow will reduce the risk of impact-related head injuries
- Keep your seatbelt on – this may seem obvious, but is a task that can be neglected by passengers. If you need to remove it quickly, remember that it unbuckles, and doesn’t have a push-button release like car seatbelts.
- Stay calm – creating an air of panic will result in slower reactions, which can cost lives. If you find others around you in shock, or in a trance-like state, ensure you make calm decisions to trigger necessary action from them – and make sure you follow instructions from aircraft crew wherever possible.