Sunday 25 February 2018

The awful silence of doomed Flight 447

Extreme turbulence combined with human weakness can prove catastrophic, writes Colum Kenny

Mystery: French army crewmen patrol for the missing plane
Mystery: French army crewmen patrol for the missing plane

It was a nightmare crash. Planes do not just drop out of the sky in mid-flight. But this one did, and last week's sudden loss of Air France Flight 447 will have heightened the anxiety of people going abroad.

Try telling people afraid of flying that it is the safest form of transport. Statistics do not stop that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. They do not dry sweaty palms.

There is nothing normal about being strapped into a tin can and hurled through the air 10,000 metres up, at hundreds of kilometres per hour. That is why we should be concerned about airlines cutting corners. If flying really is safer than other forms of transport, as they claim, it is only because crews have been so well-trained and planes not over-stretched.

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