Material World: fleeing passengers grab bags before children

Monday, July 8, 2013
By Paul Martin

TheExtinctionProtocol.com
July 8, 2013

CALIFORNIA – When seconds can mean the difference between life and death in escaping an aircraft accident, it was startling to see so many photographs from the crash of Asiana Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport of people carrying out bags, including roll aboards that must have come out of the overhead luggage bins. At least one man interviewed in the New York Times indicated that he grabbed his bags and then his child. In that order. All I can say is that it was very fortunate that the fire was slow to spread. While aircraft manufacturers like Boeing BA have done much in the last couple of decades to improve survivability in aircraft accidents by including materials that are fire-retardant, the fact remains that accidents such as this one often result in ruptured fuel lines or fuel tanks. Once aviation fuel spills, the chances are great that it will come in contact with a hot surface like an engine and ignite. Or the fuel could ignite for other reasons, including sparks caused by the fuselage skidding along the tarmac. Once the fuel ignites it spreads very quickly. Even the skin of an aircraft will burn through under the right conditions spreading the fire inside the aircraft very quickly. And no matter how much work has been done in the area of fire-retarding materials, the interior of an aircraft is not fire-proof. In addition to the fire itself, of course, is the danger from the toxic fumes created by the burning of plastic materials, carpets, as well as passenger belongings. Of all the aircraft accidents I have investigated or am familiar with, this is the first where it appears significant numbers of people took their belongings with them in escaping. What impact this had on other passengers and the extent of their injuries will need to be determined by the NTSB. At a minimum, it seems clear to me that a public awareness campaign needs to be launched to ensure that passengers do not impede the evacuation of an aircraft in an emergency. Certainly now that airlines and the FAA are clearly on notice that survivable accidents could be imperiled by passengers wasting time collecting their bags, they need to take action to address this issue before anyone needlessly dies in a survivable accident. –Forbes

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