15 January, 2009

The story that cannot possibly be over-sensationalized

As much as I want to fault the media for going berserk over today's Hudson River plane crash, there really could not be any "over-reporting" of such an event.
"I think the pilot, he did a great job," Berretta said. "I think it was as good of a landing as you can make in a river."
That quote really says it all. The media, of course, want to invoke miracles, and all sorts of other fantastical notions. And many passengers, families, and random citizens will want to blame some sort of god for this highly unlikely outcome. Of course, you find them explaining how it is that god decided to throw some geese in front of the plane in the first place. Maybe god was busy making himself a grilled cheese sandwich when that happened, and then he looked up, as he was flipping the sandwich, and noticed this plane plummeting to the earth, and he reached out his large hand with the spatula, and gently set the Airbus A320 down in the Hudson River.

All kidding aside, if you have done your reading, you will know that this is not something that happens every day, year, or decade. If you Google "successful water landing" you will find all sorts of links. But going to our trusty Wikipedia, I learned the following about large aircraft and water landings:

2009 Airbus A320 crashed in Hudson River after dual engine failure, all 155 passengers survived
2005 ATR 72 ran out of fuel near Sicily. 20 out of 39 survived, with severe injuries
2002 Boeing 737 lost both engines near Java, 59 out of 60 survived
1996 Boeing 767 lost fuel after hijacking, breaking up on impact, 52 out of 175 survived
1970 MD DC9 ran out of fuel near Saint Maarten in mile-deep waters, 40 out of 63 survived
1963 Tupolev Tu-124 ran out of fuel, and crashed in a river, all 52 passengers survived uninjured
1956 Boeing 377 lost 2 out of 4 engines, and ditched near Hawaii, all 31 passengers survived
1956 Boeing 377 crashed in the Puget Sound due to pilot error, 4 passengers drowned during rescue

So it is not entirely unheard of, though I had not heard of any of these incidents before now, except for the hijacked 767 that crashed in a horrifying fashion.

So it could have been much, much worse...

No comments:

Post a Comment