As the multi-nation search for the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 continues today, friends and families of the passengers are still hoping to reunite with their loved ones. According to statistics, the chances of a plane crash are 1 in 1.2 million flights, while the survival rate can go as high as 76 percent for serious crashes. If such figures are not good enough to provide fresh hope for friends and families of the missing flight MH370, then they would be glad to discover that there are some people who survived serious plane crashes in the past and came out stronger than before.
5. George Lamson, Jr.
Jan. 21, 1985, is the day George Lamson Jr. wishes to forget easily but the memories are still fresh in his in mind. As a teenager excited about flying, Lamson decided to take a seat just next to his father after a lovely weekend of skiing. He did not know that these were the last moments he would share with his father, because what happened next was horrific. The Galaxy Airlines Flight 203 began to vibrate as the right-wing took an unexpected turn. As the plane hit the ground, Lamson folded his knees close to his heart, and according to investigators, this wise decision is what helped him survive the horrific crash. The plane burst into flames killing at least 70 passengers as Lamson unbuckled his seatbelt and ran toward an open field past the pavement. Investigators revealed that the plane crashed as a result of the captain’s failure to control it. The co-pilot was also blamed for failing to monitor the airspeed and flight path of the ill-fated airline.
4. Mohammed el-Fateh Osman
An airplane belonging to Sudan Airways developed a mechanical problem in one of the engines and as expected of him, the pilot informed the control tower about it. He then deactivated the engine to avoid further problems but as he was flying the aircraft back to the airport, it crashed into a hillside and killed 116 people on the spot. The only survivor of the Jul. 8, 2003 crash was Mohammed el-Fateh Osman, a 3-year-old boy who lost part of his lower leg as a result of the impact. The victims, including his mother, were buried in a mass grave since the badly-mutilated bodies could not be transported back to their relatives.
3. Erika Delgado
A 9-year-old girl survived yet another horrific plane crash on Jan. 13, 1995. According to eye witnesses, the Intercontinental Airlines flight exploded in mid-air during an emergency landing attempt. The flight crashed into a lagoon, but Erika survived when she landed on a mound of seaweed that reduced the impact. The sole survivor narrated to rescuers how she was thrown out of the crashing plane by her mother just a few moments before it hit the ground. Surprisingly, one of the witnesses ignored her pleas for help and even snatched a gold necklace from her neck and disappeared from the scene. The Caribbean-bound flight claimed 51 lives, including Erika’s mother, but the cause of the crash is still unknown.
2. Juliane Köpcke
On Christmas Eve 1971, Juliane was aboard a Pucallpa-bound flight from the Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima. The pilot lost control of the aircraft 30 minutes after takeoff forcing it into a dive. The crew tried their best to level the falling plane, but their efforts received a major blow after both wings were detached from the body. The heavy airbus crushed into the Amazon Mountains but miraculously, 17-year-old Juliane survived the impact as she was strapped in her seat. Her efforts to search for her mother bore no fruits, but after wandering in the jungle for nine days, she was discovered by lumbermen who later embarked on a seven hour journey down the river to a lumber station. The young girl was then airlifted to a hospital and at the moment, she is an established biologist in Germany.
1. Vesna Vulovic
Vesna Vulovic was a flight attendant working with Jugoslovenski Aero Transport when the shocking bombing incident took place. Croatian Ustashe terrorists set off a bomb that tore the airplane into several pieces as it came tumbling down from the sky; terrorism or a hijacking is thought to possibly have affected flight mh370, as well. A German national noticed Vesna Vulovic lying partly outside the disjointed plane with a serving cart next to her body. As a retired medic in the World War II, the German did some first aid on the injured woman. Her injuries included two broken legs, a fractured skull and three broken vertebrae. After being paralyzed temporarily as a result of the broken vertebrae, Vesna managed to walk again and resumed her new role at the company as a desk attendant. She currently holds the Guinness World Record for the survivor of the highest fall without a parachute at 33,330 feet. The infamous crash that took place on Jan. 26, 1972 claimed 27 lives and to date, Vesna is considered a national heroine in Yugoslavia.
When an aircraft crashes, death is one of the first things that come in the minds of many people. However, judging from such inspiring survival stories, death should be the last thing to think about. This is the kind of mindset and hope required by friends, families and relatives of the passengers aboard the missing flight MH370 because it is never too late for a miracle to happen.
By Andrew Wandola