So if you’ve watched, read or heard the news in the past 12 hours, you’ll know about the missing Malaysian Airlines flight.
If you haven’t, the basic story is a flight with 239 people left Kuala Lumpur just after midnight and by 2:40 am, it had lost contact with air control and has been missing ever since. Scary stuff. We’re checking the Internet like crazy people to try and get updates on if anything has been found, but so far, nothing. Rescue ships have been dispatched into the China Sea – last known location – and search and rescue teams are working to locate the plane as well.
Malaysian Airlines haven’t had a major accident for almost twenty years, and if this flight has indeed gone down, it would be their worst disaster. The plane itself, a Boeing 777, is named as one of the world’s safest planes. They had their first fatal crash last year in July when three people died after a crash in San Francisco.
Since I’m a little jumpy about flights (I overcame my fear of flying but occasionally logic takes a holiday in my mind) and I’m especially jumpy now because we’re flying out of the same airport on a similar flight tonight, I decided I’d look up the statistics about flying, and the chances of actually being involved in a plane crash.
Turns out, the odds of being killed on an airline flight is 1 in 4.7 million out of 78 major world airlines. If you’re flying with the 39 airlines with the best accident rates, those odds go up to 1 in 19.8 million. But if you’re flying with the 39 airlines with the worst accident rates, then your chances are 1 in 2 million.
The number of fatalities per million flight hours is a tiny 12.25.
The highest survival rate of people who’s planes had crashed was in the 1990’s, when you had about 35% chance of surviving. That survival rate went down to 24% in the 2000’s but apparently these days you have a 95% chance of surviving a plane crash. I think that positive jump in statistics may be largely due to the amazing landing on the Hudson River by Capt. Sully.
Based on statistics, if you flew every day of your life, it would take 19 thousand years before you died in a plane crash. You’re also nineteen times safer on a plane than you are in a car. You’re also more likely to die from a bee sting than a commercial flight.
Another fact: 80% of crashes happen in the 3 minutes after takeoff, and the 8 minutes before landing, and in between those times the chances of being involved in a crash drop dramatically. So if you’re awake, and prepared for that total of 11 minutes of flight time, then you have a higher chance of survival.
So when you compare statistics and averages, your chances of dying in a plane crash are very very slim. If you’re an American, you should be more worried about heart disease, which kills a frightening 1 in 2 people. For the rest of you, you’re in more danger whilst driving to the airport than you are of anything happening while you’re on a plane. However if you do get into a plane crash and survive, you should probably buy a lottery ticket. I figure the odds are on your side.
All of this information soothes my soul immensely, and I feel like I can relax a little bit more. Hey, according to statistics, I can relax for my entire flight apart from those 3 minutes at the start and 8 minutes at the end. And hopefully, when we land, we’ll have some more information on the missing plane and the people aboard. Here’s hoping they’ve got good odds.