More than 20 times so far this year the world's consciousness has been jarred by accounts of such air tragedies, which have killed almost 900 people. In the United States alone, following an 18-month period in which no major air accidents occurred, this year has seen a series of disasters that has taken 225 lives. The shame of it is, most of these deaths were unnecessary and avoidable.
The National Transportation Safety Board, the agency that investigates major U. S. airplane crashes, says that 88 per cent of all crashes are "survivable." This means that all of the occupants should have been able to escape with their lives, and yet, almost 20 per cent of the people involved in such crashes are killed or seriously injured.
Why so many injuries?
The hundreds of people who have been killed this year in "survivable" airplane accidents have died not because death was unavoidable; they have died because the airplane they were traveling in was too flimsy, because their seats and seat belts did not hold, because fire was almost inevitable and because, in a fire, many materials used inside the airplane produced toxic fumes.