Air passengers flying in economy class are more likely to survive a plane crash, according to a new study.
As part of research for a television programme, a Boeing 727 carrying cameras, sensors and crash test dummies with breakable bones was deliberately crashed into the Sonoran Desert in Mexico earlier this year.
Three dummies were also arranged in various positions: one in the classic “brace” position and with a seat belt fastened, one with just the seat belt fastened, and a third with neither.
Following analysis of the crash, it has now been claimed that passengers at the front of the aircraft, usually reserved for first-class, business-class or premium-economy passengers, were less likely to survive.
After hitting the ground, the front of the plane, and the first 11 rows of seats, were ripped off. A force of 12G was recording in this section of the aircraft.
Further back, the force fell to around 6G.
Experts concluded that none of the plane’s first-class passengers would have survived the crash, but 78 per cent of the other passengers would have, with the chance of survival increasing the closer they were sitting to the rear of the aircraft.
They also said that the dummy in the brace position with its seat belt fastened would have survived the impact. The one which was not in the brace position would have suffered severe head injuries, while the one not wearing a seatbelt would have died.
Its findings support a study by Popular Mechanics, carried out in 2007. The magazine looked at all crashes since 1971 for which seat survival data was available and found that those in rear seats (behind the wing’s trailing edge) were safer, survival rates were 69 per cent as opposed to 56 per cent over the wing and 49 per cent for those at the front of the plane.
The programme, with a working title of Plane Crash, by production company Dragonfly, will be screen on British television next month.
Courtesy: The Telegraph, London