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Where You Sit on a Plane Can Mean the Difference Between Life and Death

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Airplane Crashes, Zombies, and Tragic Real Life Disasters

I recently watched the movie World War Z, which contained a gruesome plane crash scene that left me wondering, where is the best place to sit on a plane that is in its final descent (zombies aside, of course)?  On a more serious note, on Saturday a San Francisco-bound flight carrying more than 300 people crashed, tragically killing two 16-year-old girls and injuring 181 others.  While only one in 1.2 million flights will result in a crash, experts say that where you sit on the plane does make a difference between life and death during a crash.

Human Reaction During Emergency Situations is Vital

Professor Ed Galea of the University of Greenwich has studied how humans react in emergency situations for over 25 years.  He advises that the seconds before a plane crashes are the most vital.  In his research he has interviewed the survivors of plane crashes and discovered that they had moved an average of 5 rows before safely exiting a burning plane.  Aisle seat, exit row seats and rear of the plane seats were also generally the safest.  He says that it’s important to know what you’d do in an emergency situation on an airplane so that you won’t be caught off guard and freeze up when you need to think fast.  However, the survival rate in U.S. plane crashes is still pretty high–between 1983 and 2000, the rate was 95%.

Simple Formula Could Help You Survive

Most accidents happen within three minutes of takeoff  or in the eight minutes before landing.  Remembering the plus three, minus eight mathematical formula could help save your life.  Thus, in the first few minutes of the flight, experts suggest that instead of picking up a magazine or kicking off your shoes, that you remain alert.  Nevertheless, passengers can also rest assured that most flights are not bound for peril–riding on a commercial airplane is about as risky as riding on an escalator and the aviation industry has made great strides in providing stronger seats, improved flame retardant plane parts, and better firefighting techniques following a crash.