You Are Not Going to Die In a Plane Crash, Period

San Francisco crash only underscores how rare airline fatalities are
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2013 11:42 AM CDT
You Are Not Going to Die In a Plane Crash, Period
In this Saturday, July 6, 2013 aerial photo, the wreckage of Asiana Flight 214 lies on the ground after it crashed at the San Francisco International Airport, in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Statistically speaking, you are not going to die in a plane crash. "People are understandably troubled by the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214," management science and statistics professor Arnold Barnett writes at CNN, and it is tragic that two teens died. But "it is remarkable that 99% of the passengers survived the accident," and that those two deaths were the first on any commercial flight in the US in four and a half years, a period in which 3 billion people have flown.

"Two in 3 billion is a very small number," Barnett points out. "At that risk per flight, a traveler could on average fly once a day for 4 million years before succumbing to a fatal crash." You're more likely to become president, or win a Nobel Prize. That doesn't mean the NTSB shouldn't rigorously investigate the crash's possible causes, and we should all hope that their efforts prevent this from ever happening again. "And given the progress to date in aviation safety, that hope is anything but forlorn," Barnett concludes. Click for his full column. (More Asiana Airlines stories.)

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