With over 10 million trips annually, flying is still considered to be one of the safest forms of transportation. In fact, you are far safer flying in a plane than driving in a car on any of our California freeways, explains an attorney in the state. However, while flying is reliably safe, the Federal Aviation Administration, FAA, reports that the leading causes of in-flight personal injuries are turbulence and unexpected decompression, occurrences that unfortunately appear to be on the rise.
Recently, a United Airlines flight en route from London to Los Angeles was diverted to Montreal due to the serious injuries sustained by ten people during extreme turbulence over the Atlantic Ocean. The passengers who were not physically injured were visibly shaken.
According to reports from KABC news, there were approximately 200 passengers onboard the Boeing 777 when it suddenly experienced severe turbulence. One of the main reasons so many passengers suffered serious injury was that the seat belt sign was inactive. One of the flight attendants sustained a broken leg, and several of the injured passengers had head trauma due to the fact that their heads hit the ceiling.
In the United States, about 58-60 people are injured annually by not wearing their seatbelts while flying. Since 1980, US air carriers have been involved in 234 turbuable-type accidents, resulting in 298 serious injuries and 3 fatalities.
Additionally, approximately 40-50 rapid aircraft decompression accidents occur each year. Last week, hundreds of people heard a loud pop before a huge explosion ripped a five-foot-by-one-foot hole on the top of the fuselage. Passengers feared for their lives on the short flight from Phoenix, Arizona to Sacramento, California. They had just seconds to find and put on their oxygen masks. The pilots had to nosedive the airplane to reach a safe altitude. Luckily, only two people suffered personal injury on this flight, according to a local attorney. Although more cracks have been found on Southwest's B 737, this airline does not have a good safety record.
Since the Federal Aviation Act governs airlines, they are held to a high standard of care for their passengers. The airline and its employees are required to do all that is reasonable to prevent injuries from occurring. Specifically, this is why the pilot usually discourages cabin movement during flights by illuminating the "fasten your safety belt" sign. While turbulence and sudden decompression are often unexpected, you can help ensure your safety by always wearing your seatbelt during the flight.