Airplane Accident – Would You Survive?

As I sat watching Dancing with the Stars tonight, the dancing was suddenly interrupted with a Breaking News Alert … there had just been an airplane accident at Houston’s Hobby airport. 

I Survived an Airplane Accident:

I was immediately reminded of a similar event that happened to me just a couple of months ago. I had been involved in an airplane accident at the City Airport in London. I remember the date vividly: it was Friday the 13th.

My attention was riveted to the TV screen as I watched the Southwest jet skidding along the runway, flames leaping from the front tire.

Then I watched as the passengers jumped down the evacuation slide at the tail of the plane.  As I write this, there are no reported injuries or fatalities.

However, when my plane landed in London, and the passengers evacuated the plane, there were a few injuries – including mine, but fortunately, no fatalities.

I remember jumping down the evacuation slide, but somehow, I landed very, very hard on my ground. I immediately felt severe pain, and I very quickly discovered that I could neither stand nor walk. 

What made the experience even worse was that right then; I heard a loud bang, and every airplane disaster movie I’d ever seen, flashed through my mind: first comes the bang, then the flames, and then all the people die. 

I admit that I was really frightened at that moment, but fortunately, there was no explosion, no flames, and all the people survived.

About that time two men came and carried me off to the edge of the tarmac where I waited for the ambulance to take me to the hospital. 

I had to spend a day in the hospital, and I was in a great deal of pain despite the morphine and other pain killers they gave me. (I couldn’t even sit up, let alone stand.) 

Even after the hospital discharged me, I was in constant pain for about three or four weeks, so I had to take strong pain killers about every four hours. Even now, a couple of months later, I still have some residual pain.

Consequently, I learned a few things about flying. I’d previously flown a lot and thought I knew everything I needed to know – but I discovered that wasn’t true.  

Top 10 Tips to Survive an Airplane Accident:

1.   When you first take your seat on the airplane, check out where the nearest exit door is. Count the number of rows and note which side of the plane it’s on.

2.   Then, make a fallback plan – check where the next closest exit is and do the same.

3.   Pay close attention when the flight attendant gives you the emergency instructions – don’t rely upon them to give you good instructions should an actual emergency arise. For example, we had no advance notice, and the only instruction I got at the emergency door was this: “Get out! Get out! Get out! Get out!” coming from a very young flight attendant who, I think, was even more panicked than the passengers were.

4. Always carry important items on your person – don’t pack them in you carry-on bag, or your purse, or your computer case – chances are you won’t be able to reach them when you’re told to evacuate – and the last thing you want to do is try to get things out of the overhead bins at a time like this. Critical items include the following:

• Passport (if you’re traveling internationally)
• Airplane ticket
• Cell phone / PDA
• Driver’s license
• Car Keys
• Important Medications
• Enough money for a taxi, hotel, etc.

5. If you can, grab your purse before you leave. I know that differs from official procedures, but you can throw it out on the ground before you jump. You wouldn’t believe how many times I was asked for the same information, over and over: my passport number (I don’t have it memorized, do you?), what flight I had been on, who to call? For me, that meant notifying people in four different countries, most of whom I had never memorized their [international] phone numbers. (Even once I got to the hospital, I was awakened at 11:00 p.m., at 1:00 a.m., and at 3:00 a.m. to answer the same questions yet again by yet another authority!)

6.   Pack copies of all these documents in your checked luggage. If one is lost or damaged, perhaps the other will still be available.

7.   Be sure all of your luggage, including your hand luggage that you carry on the plane, is tagged with your name so that it can be returned to you if you have to evacuate the plane. (I left my coat – it was zero degrees Celsius that day, my company laptop, as well as my personal hand luggage behind when I evacuated and airplane personal had to go retrieve it for me once the plane had been cleared). 

8.   Ladies – I suggest you start wearing cargo pants, or similar clothing, whenever you fly. Men usually have plenty of pockets and do tend to carry these items on their person, whereas women tend to carry them in a purse or other carry-on bag.

9.   Make sure that someone knows what your travel itinerary, and expected travel dates, are.

10. And, if you’re ever asked to jump down an evacuation slide – be sure to look before you leap. If people who’ve preceded you don’t get up off the slide right away, it can change the angle of the slide so that it becomes almost a straight descent, without any cushioning support available when you jump.

I hope that you will take these tips to heart – they just might save your life some day.

SABUNG AYAM
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