Editorial — July 28, 2014

Staff ~ The Prince Albert Daily Herald
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If bad things come in threes, let’s hope that the terrible run of luck is over for the aviation industry.

A cluster of recent accidents may have some people questioning their plans to fly, which seems like a shortsighted plan.

Let’s review what we know about the recent crashes.

• July 24

An Air Algerie flight on a plane loaned by private Spanish airline Swiftair went down in northern Mali on Thursday with 118 souls aboard. There were no survivors.

While terrorism hasn’t been completely ruled out as a cause, the pilots on Flight 5017 radioed in change its route because of heavy rain in their final message.

The McDonnell Douglas MD-83 had passed its annual inspection in January without any issues. It was flying from Burkina Faso to Algeria.

• July 23

A TransAsia Airways plane crashes into a building while attempting to make an emergency landing in Magong, Taiwan with 47 of the 58 people on the plane perishing. At the time, there was heavy weather in the area associated with hurricane Matmo and a first attempt at landing failed. The plane crashed on its second attempt.

Flight 222 was an ATR 72-500.

• July 17

A Malaysia Airlines flight was likely hit by a surface-to-air missile while cruising at 33,000 feet, killing all 298 people on board in Hrabove, Ukraine. Flight 17 was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. That’s a tough one to blame on the industry; it was entirely due to a dummy with a weapon he shouldn’t have had.

The Boeing 777-200 crash was the eighth worst in history.

We all know what the 17th most lethal flight in aviation history was.

That’s the infamous lost flight, which disappeared between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing with 239 souls on board back in March. Flight 240, also a Boeing 777-200, apparently changed its flight path and is believed by experts to have crashed into the Indian Ocean. Of course people who are missing a few genes think it may have been abducted by aliens or secretly hijacked by U.S. President Barack Obama.

We honestly don’t know for certain what happened to that airplane; all we can do is guess until it’s found.

It’s important to put those tragic numbers into some kind of context.

In 2013, there were 459 fatalities, according to the Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives. That followed 828 in 2011 and 800 in 2012.

So far in 2014, we’re at 991.

There have been more than 1,000 fatalities just once in the past decade, in 2005. By comparison, there were more than 1,000 fatalities every year between 1958 and 1980, which speaks to an industry that’s becoming much safer.

About 100,000 commercial flights go up around the globe every day, and the industry flies 1.4 billion miles for every accident.

They are statistics that suggest you’re unlikely to crash if you fly, but they provide precious little comfort if you draw a most unlikely straw and go down.

 

Prince Albert Daily Herald

Organizations: Air Algerie, TransAsia Airways, Malaysia Airlines Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives Prince Albert Daily Herald

Geographic location: Northern Mali, Kuala Lumpur, Burkina Faso Algeria Magong Taiwan Hrabove Ukraine Amsterdam Beijing Indian Ocean U.S.

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