What increases your chances of survival during a plane crash? KPRC 2 learns multiple vital factors

BROOKSHIRE, Texas – A miracle aboard the McDonnell Douglass MD-87.

The images are chilling. Knowing everyone on board survived the fiery crash is incredible.

Anthony Brickhouse is an associate professor of Aerospace Safety with Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.

“When I first saw the pictures, I just saw a burning plane and heard 21 people were on board and automatically thought the worst,” Brickhouse said. “The name of the game is to get out of that aircraft as quickly as possible once it stops, and as safely as possibly.”

Brickhouse says several different factors come together to allow people to survive plane crashes.

“The first thing, the energy or what we call the G Forces have to be within human tolerances. Secondly, the aircraft has to provide protection and the structure of the aircraft has to hold up. And then the third factor, which really came into is what we call ‘post-crash factors,’ and that would definitely include fire,” Brickhouse said. “If this aircraft were taking off, it would be full of fuel or pretty close to full. So whatever happened with this event, when that fire broke out, getting out of that aircraft quickly was paramount.”

He said the role the pilots and flight attendants played in evacuating the aircraft will be examined.

This is not the first fiery plane crash where people survived.

Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed on final approach at San Francisco International Airport in 2013. Three hundred and seven people were on that Boeing 777. Three people died and several others were injured.

Brickhouse said NTSB investigators will focus on performance and why this aircraft did not get airborne. They will ask three basic, but important questions: 1.) What happened? 2.) Why it happened? 3.) And what can be done to prevent this from happening again?

He said we can expect a preliminary report of the crash within a couple of weeks, but the official investigation will likely take nine to 12 months.


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