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Singapore Airlines crash (2): what the experts say

Plane is the safest means of transport, but can you die from turbulence?

The plane is the safest means of transport. A 2023 Harvard University study highlighted that driving a car is 200,000 times riskier than travelling in the skies, and that the chances of a flight accident are one in 1.2 million, while the chances of losing your life are one in 11 million. So how is it possible that the high-altitude turbulence experienced by the Singapore Airlines aircraft caused one death and 54 injuries?

Let's first talk about the deceased passenger. He is Geoff Kitchen, a 73-year-old man of British nationality. Before retirement he worked for over 35 years at the Thornbury Musical Theater Group, where he was remembered as "an honest and upright gentleman". Not so his heart: in fact, he would have lost his life due to a heart attack, which according to the American TV station "Cnn" would be linked to a suspected "condition" of health fragility.

And the wounded? Aviation expert John Strickland explained to the British television broadcaster "BBC" that "injuries due to violent turbulence are relatively rare" although "they can have dramatic outcomes". In any case, "the cabin crew is trained on how to respond to turbulence" and it is recommended to "keep your seat belts fastened at all times", something which not all passengers did on the Singapore Airlines flight.

And then there is the climate factor. Some areas of the Earth are more prone to sudden turbulence. However, pilot Danilo Baratti, interviewed by the Italian newspaper "la Repubblica", explains: "The cards predict that a jet stream will take shape in a certain place and time. But they are predictions: they don't always come true completely." Now, however, "climate changes are making air navigation much less safe. Turbulence that used to occur in the hottest areas of the world is now happening everywhere and with intensities that are not always imaginable".

On the same topic, see also the article published by AVIONEWS.

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency