AP: 4702dd91-e2ce-428b-8097-d195bc717f58
This image released by the National Transportation Safety Board Sunday, July 7, 2013, shows NTSB workers near the Boeing 777 Asiana Airlines Flight 214 aircraft. The Asiana flight crashed upon landing Saturday, July 6, at San Francisco International Airport, and two of the 307 passengers aboard were killed. (AP Photo/NTSB)

What you can do to improve the odds of surviving an airplane crash

Air travel experts say the fact that 305 survived the crash of an Asiana flight at a San Francisco airport is a strong statement on the effectiveness of safety improvements implemented to make airplane crashes more survivable.

"Based on what we've seen of that particular accident, and the way the aircraft came down on the runway, it's a true testament to a lot of hard work that's been done in the past, gathering of information from previous crashes to make this aircraft as structurally sound as it is," said Kevin Hiatt, President of the Flight Safety Foundation, in an appearance on the Morning News on KIRO Radio.

But the crash in San Francisco was not without casualties, and when some survive and others do not, it leads many to ask if there's anything they can do to increase their odds of living through an accident.

"This is what every passenger wants to know: Is there a safest seat on the plane?" Morning News host Dave Ross asked safety expert Hiatt.

"Not really," said Hiatt.

While improvements have been made, like adding seats that withstand 16 times the force of gravity, he said all crashes are different and there's not really a way to predict which seats will be safest in a specific incident.

"It used to be the thought that the tail was the safest spot to be in the aircraft, but if you've seen this particular accident, that wouldn't be such a good place to be," said Hiatt.

"Then also fire is a very big issue and it has no distinction between first class, business class, coach or economy. So actually, there is no specific place that I would say I would sit in the aircraft other than another."

But there definitely are things you can to do to be more aware of procedures that might help keep you safe.

"I would recommend to anybody getting on the airplane is when you take your seat, locate the emergency exit row or where the emergency exits are," said Hiatt.

He also said take a look at the other information airlines provide. It's not just the in-flight magazine in that seat-back pocket in front of you.

"Look at the seat card in the pocket in front of you to find out where the oxygen mask is going to come from and what you're supposed to do in case of a ditching."

If you want to be even more educated, he said you can count the number of rows between you and the nearest exit. All of those things he said will keep you well informed in the case something unexpected should happen.


Jamie Skorheim, MyNorthwest.com Editor
Whether it's floating on Green Lake, eating shrimp tacos at Agua Verde, or taking weekend drives out to the Cascades, she loves to enjoy the Pacific Northwest lifestyle as much as humanly possible.
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