While flying is generally safe, there is no guarantee

This weekend's two fatal plane crashes serve as a stark reminder there are no guarantees of safety when it comes to flying Photo: Rashah McChesney, Peninsula Clarion/Associated Press

ATLANTA, July 8, 2013 – Ten people were killed Sunday when a small air taxi crashed at a municipal airport in Alaska.

The deadly flight was the second fatal air crash in as many days.

Initial reports indicate the Rediske Air de Havilland DHC-3 Otter airplane may have crashed shortly after taking off from Soldotna Municipal Airport in Soldotna, Alaska.

A day earlier in San Francisco, two people were killed and dozens injured when Asiana Airlines flight 214 from Seoul, South Korea, apparently clipped a seawall at the edge of the runway as it was about to land. The San Francisco crash marked the first commercial air crash with fatalities since 2009.

The two crashes serve as a stark reminder there are no guarantees of safety when it comes to flying. Still, air travel remains one of the safest modes of transportation, safter than driving.

“Crashes are definitely more survivable today than they were a few decades ago,” The Associated Press quoted Kevin Hiatt, president and CEO of the Flight Safety Foundation, as saying. “We’ve learned from the past incidents about what can be improved.”

National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Deborah Hersman noted in a Sunday interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation”: “What’s really important is for people to understand that airplane crashes – the majority of them are survivable.”

Here is a look at other fatal commercial air crashes in the United States post-9/11:

– Colgan Air Flight 3407, Feb., 12, 2009: All 49 passengers and one person on the ground were killed when a Bombardier Dash-8 Q400 flying from Newark, N.J., to Buffalo, N.Y., experienced an aerodynamic stall and crashed into a house in Clarence Center, N.Y.

Comair Flight 5191 (Delta Connection Flight 5191), Aug. 27, 2006: All 47 passengers and two crew members were killed when a Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet 100ER crashed on takeoff. An investigation revealed the pilots took off from the wrong runway – one that was too short for a safe takeoff. The flight’s first officer was the only survivor.

– Southwest Airlines Flight 1248, Dec. 8, 2005: A six-year-old boy was killed after a Boeing 737-700 slid off the runway as it was landing at Chicago Midway International Airport. No one onboard the flight was injured; the boy was in a car on the ground.

– American Airlines Flight 587, Nov. 12, 2001: All 251 passengers and nine crew members onboard an Airbus A300 were killed when the aircraft crashed into a Queens, N.Y., neighborhood. An investigation revealed the “airplane’s vertical stabilizer and rudder separated in flight” after takeoff. Five people on the ground were also killed in the crash.

While airline travel continues to be statistically safe, passengers can always do themselves a favor by paying attention to crew safety instructions and reading the airplane safety information card before takeoff.


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Todd DeFeo

Todd DeFeo jouned The Washington Times Communities in May 2012. He covers travel and Georgia. A marketing professional who never gave up his award-winning journalistic ways, DeFeo revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He also serves as editor of The Travel Trolley.


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