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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Air travel has always been touted as the safest way to travel, and it’s true. Every other method of transportation is far more dangerous. But that doesn’t mean that air travel is danger free. The odds of being killed in a single “commercial airline” flight are 1 in 29.4 million. But, if you ARE involved in a fatal crash, your odds of dying are 67%.

Incidentally, according to planecrashinfo.com, these major air carriers have never had a fatality: Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Jet Blue Airways, Southwest Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic.

The first recorded airplane fatality occurred on September 17, 1908, in Ft. Myer, Virginia. A plane was on a demonstration flight and piloted by Orville Wright. The propeller broke off and it fell from a height of 75 feet, and crashed to the ground. The only passenger, Lt. Thomas Selfridge, died in the crash. Orville Wright survived but suffered broken ribs, pelvis, and a leg. Listed below is a very partial list of notable people who did not survive the crash of an aircraft in which they were travelling (listed in date order).

7-1-1912: HARRIET QUIMBY (37), pioneer female pilot, the first “Lady of the Air,” died in Massachusetts.

4-21-1918: Manfred von Richtofen, the “RED BARON” (25), died in France; he may have been shot down by ground fire (and not by another airplane).
3-31-1931: KNUTE ROCKNE (43), Notre Dame Football coach, died in Kansas; a structural design flaw caused a wing to break off in flight.

8-15-1935: WILL ROGERS (56), humorist; and WILEY POST (37), adventurer, both died in Alaska; crashed into the water in fog.

7-2-1937: AMELIA EARHART (40), adventurer, died near New Guinea; probably ditched in the ocean (still not known for sure).

1-16-1942: CAROLE LOMBARD (33), actress, died in Nevada; crashed into a mountain - all 22 aboard were killed.

1-1-1943: LESLIE HOWARD (42), actor, died in France; the true reason is still unknown but some say his plane was shot down by German aircraft (rumor says the Germans thought Winston Churchill was aboard).

12-15-1944: GLENN MILLER (40), musician, died over the English Channel; actual reason is not known for sure; but his plane may have been hit by RAF bombs dropped from a higher altitude.

3-22-1958: MIKE TODD (49), film producer, died in New Mexico; crashed in a storm (his wife, Elizabeth Taylor, was to be aboard but stayed home with a cold).

2-3-1959: BUDDY HOLLY (22), RITCHIE VALENS (17), THE BIG BOPPER (28), all musicians, died in Iowa; crashed in bad weather.

2-25-1960: U.S. NAVY BAND, died in Brazil; mid-air collision - all 61 died.

9-17-1961: DAG HAMMARSKJOD (56), U.N. Secretary General, died in Zambia; crashed in the jungle (rumor says that a bomb had been detonated on board).

3-5-1963: PATSY CLINE (30), singer, died in Tennessee; crashed in a storm.

12-10-1967: OTIS REDDING (26), singer, died in Wisconsin; undetermined cause.

3-27-1968: YURI GARGARIN (34), 1st man in space, died in Russia; the crash cause was never made public.

4-14-1970: MARSHALL UNIV. FOOTBALL TEAM, died in West Virginia; crashed short of the runway in a storm - all 75 aboard killed.

5-28-1971: AUDIE MURPHY (45), WWII hero and actor, died in Virginia; crashed into mountain in a thunderstorm.

12-31-1972: ROBERTO CLEMENTE (38), baseball player, died in Puerto Rico; crashed on takeoff as engines lost all power.

9-20-1973: JIM CROCE (30), singer, died in Louisiana; crashed on takeoff.

8-1-1977: FRANCIS GARY POWERS (47), pilot, died in California; having survived being shot down by the Soviets, he crashed in a helicopter covering a fire for a local TV station.

12-31-1985: RICKY NELSON (45), singer, died in Texas; fire on board, crashed.

1-28-1986: CREW OF SPACE SHUTTLE CHALLENGER, in Florida; crashed during takeoff - all 7 of the crew died.

8-27-1990: STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN (35), musician, died in Wisconsin; crashed on take- off in the fog.

10-25-1991: BILL GRAHAM (60), rock promoter, died in California; his helicopter crashed after hitting a transmission tower.

10-12-1997: JOHN DENVER (53), singer, died in California; John lost control, dived, and crashed into Monterey Bay.

7-16-1999: JOHN F. KENNEDY JR. (38) died in Massachusetts; lost control and crashed in the ocean.

2-1-2003: CREW OF THE SPACE SHUTTLE COLUMBIA, over Texas; craft broke up on re-entry - all 7 of the crew died.

We credit this information to the website “Plane Crash Info.” It is a very extensive site and can be linked to at http://planecrashinfo.com/indexold.html

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