On Tuesday, April 17th, Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 traveling from New York City to Dallas experienced an engine failure which forced the plane to make an emergency landing. Moments later, passengers described a huge explosion and glass shattering. Shrapnel (likely the cowling – or the engine cover) flew off the engine and broke the window. The hole in the window and aircraft caused one passenger to briefly be partially pulled from the inside of the plane’s cabin. Fortunately, the pilot and co-pilot were able to safely land the 737-MAX aircraft and this Southwest Accident could have been much worse. But the passenger that was briefly pulled outside the plane’s cabin did die.
Accidents Happen, But Flying Has Never Been Safer
While this sounds like an unimaginable story from a movie, it’s important to remind everyone that this is the first deadly accident on a U.S. passenger airline flight since 2009. And it’s the first fatality on a major U.S. airline since 2001.
Think about it. On average 35,000 – 40,000 people die in the United States each year as a result of motor vehicle crashes. Compare that to the one death on U.S. passenger airlines in nearly a decade. Air travel is by far the safest method of travel. As you are reading this, there are tens of thousands of commercial flights in the air. And modern jets like the Boeing 737 are built with redundancy after redundancy, and as we saw yesterday are entirely capable of descending to a safe altitude after the complete and total loss of power in one of the plane’s engines.
The flight crew did a phenomenal job on Southwest Flight 1380 handling the emergency. And the pilot and co-pilot remained extremely calm (listen to the audio traffic) and landed the aircraft safely without any other major injuries.
What You Can Do
Take safety on board seriously. Many of the passengers on Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 weren’t properly wearing their oxygen masks. And they evacuated the plane with luggage. So yes, it is extremely important for you to pay attention to the safety briefings. Know where the exits are and know how to use the safety equipment in the unlikely event you need it. And if the Southwest Accident taught us anything, keep your seat belt fastened anytime you are in your seat, even if the seat belt sign is turned off.
Despite the southwest accident, we have no intentions of being scared of flying or nervous flyers. And we aren’t going to stop flying. But we will think twice about playing on our phone during the next safety briefing and I can guarantee you our seat belts will always stay fastened when we are in our seats, seat belt sign off or not.