To have time to get scared: what passengers of falling planes feel

To have time to get scared: what passengers of falling planes feel

11 January , 09:34Photo:
After the crash of the Indonesian Boeing 737 Sriwijaya Air, rescuers found fragments of the plane's fuselage, children's clothes and the remains of passengers at the crash site in the Java Sea. There were 62 people on board. How could these people live the last minutes of their lives, the experts say.

It remains unclear why the new catastrophe happened. The reasons can be many: from equipment malfunction or pilot error to a terrorist attack. On the Internet, experts talk about what people felt in the last minutes of their lives. Their opinions differ, because only a few survive in plane crashes, although aviation remains the safest mode of transport, compared, for example, to accidents on the roads or the danger of dying from the flu or, as now, from the consequences of covid.

If the plane is depressurized, for example, in an explosion, at an altitude of 8-9 thousand meters, then a person dies almost instantly. The rate of pressure drop exceeds the rate at which air leaves the lungs, and people die from hearing aid barotrauma and cerebral hemorrhage, ruptured lungs, stomach or other organs, and internal bleeding. Acute oxygen starvation causes a collapse, a person instantly becomes unable to breathe, and because of the difference in pressure inside the body and outside, it bursts with air and gases from the inside.

If the depressurization is not instantaneous, a person loses consciousness within 10-15 seconds due to a lack of oxygen, while not realizing his approach. Therefore, you need to immediately put on an oxygen mask. If people lose consciousness, then they do not realize what is happening.

If technical malfunctions are found in the plane, but there is no depressurization, as is the case when the engines are stopped, the crew tries to save the passengers to the last and tell them what they should do. Pilots understand the inevitability of the death of the plane and the people on board only in the last seconds, so there are usually no messages about this in the black boxes.

If an explosion or any other form of aircraft decompression occurs in horizontal flight, when, for example, it is flying on autopilot, then those on board first see a second flash, and then feel a blow to the ears and lungs, but it is not fatal. Most of the passengers receive varying degrees of injury, but do not die. The plane becomes uncontrollable and falls or collapses in the air. People die from impact when colliding with the ground or water at a speed of 300-400 km per hour instantly, but before that, due to overloads, injuries or loss of consciousness, they cannot do anything.

If there is an error in piloting the plane, the plane "stalls". Passengers are either pressed into the chair from overloads, or they feel the lightness of the body when moving down. This continues for several minutes, and people realize what is happening to them to the fullest. Someone writes a suicide note, someone puts a passport in their pocket for later identification. But a collision with the ground is inevitable, and then death occurs immediately.

The same experts say that as a rule, plane crashes happen in doublet, and after the first one, another one happens within three months.

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