An Asiana Airlines flight from Seoul to San Francisco, with 307 people onboard, has crashed on landing killing at least two people and injuring 180 more.
The circumstances surrounding the crash are still unclear, although a number of passengers have given their recollection of the final moments before the impact which until a full investigation is completed provided some indication of what may have occurred.
Speaking with CNN, a passenger, Elliott Stone, said that “Right when it appeared to coast for the landing, … (he) sped up, like the pilot knew he was short and then the back end just hit, and flies up in the air, and everybody’s head goes up to the ceiling. And then it just kind of drifts for a little bit, for a good 300 yards and then tips over. Fire starts”.
Witnesses to the crash reported the plane approached the airport at an unusual angle with the tail hitting the ground before bouncing down the runway.
One passenger reported to the media that the top of the plane collapsed on impact, causing the overhead luggage compartments to fall, injuring passengers.
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Last year saw the safest year in aviation since 1945 with 23 deadly accidents from 33.4 million flights. The San Francisco incident is the first airline crash in the United States in the last four and a half years, an amazing record considering the number of flights in, around and out each day.
What stands out for me is that almost every time you hear of a deadly plane accident, it involves a lesser known carrier flying older, less well maintained planes. Using the American carriers as an example, it has been more than 10 years since a major domestic carrier was involved in a deadly accident. This is a staggering statistic.
Studies out of the United States have shown that up to 40 per cent of the population have some degree of anxiety concerning flying, while 6.5 per cent have such a fear of flying that it keeps them completly grounded.
According to professor of statistics at M.I.T, Arnold Barnett, flying has become so reliable that a traveller could fly every day for 123,000 years before being in a fatal crash.
I am one of those who suffer from anxiety when taking off on a plane, an anxiety which may have been caused by watching too many episodes of Air Crash Investigation. Through flying more often, developing breathing techniques and reading about how incredibly safe flying actually is, I have been able to lower my anxiety levels, although serious turbulence does still make me grab the armrests incredibly hard!
Are you a frequent flyer? Do you experience anxiety and how do you overcome it for each flight?