According to this article, the chances of dying on an airplane is 1 in 7.6 million. The chances of dying in a plane crash is 1 in 1.3 million. Both are rare occurrences, but the recent death of Carina Desir, a woman on a flight to New York has created a new flurry of concern.
There is one detail in the article that does pose something to consider, I think, for people who have had serious breathing problems. If you’ve ever seen a person have an asthma attack or difficulty breathing due to congestive heart failure, it’s frightening. In addition to describing what happened with this recent death on the American Airlines flight, the article describes another incident in 1998 when a man died from an asthma attack. His 10-year old daughter and wife were flying with him.
The oxygen tanks aboard airplanes are made for cabin decompression situations and not for breathing problems from medical conditions. From what I understand, the concentration of oxygen that is given on airplanes is different than what might be administered in a hospital. It’s also administered with a face mask. In a hospital, oxygen is administered with a nose tube. This doesn’t mean the oxygen on planes won’t work, but that in a dire situation, it may not be enough. The situation with Mrs. Desir who died recently is still under investigation.
What strange things have been found on planes?
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The procedures for what to do if a person dies on an airplane are being reconsidered since different airlines have different procedures. The question of whether to continue to the original destination or land as soon as possible is one of details being looked at in order to understand what is the best option. It seems to me there are drawbacks to either choice. Although, it might be extremely upsetting to fly with dead body, and the lack of control from being up in the air and unable to do anything, must be excruciating for friends and family.
Still if you’re flying from New York to California and end up in Chicago, there’s the problem of getting the body where you need it to be and then getting yourself there as well. For international flights, that could even be a worse scenario. I do wonder about what people should do who have breathing issues to protect themselves before getting on an airplane. Maybe they should bring their own oxygen. [via AP]
Got a travel horror story? Which airline? What happened? Let us know.