Ever since the invention of the first piloted airplane designed by Orville and Wilbur Wright, using airplanes as a method of transportation has become very popular. These two men, on May 14, 1908, were the first to successfully pilot a fixed two-wing airplane. However, the first fatal airplane crash was also that same year.
Thomas Selfridge was killed when Orville unsuccessfully flew the plane during a demonstration for the US Army Signal Corps. Selfridge had opted to be a passenger while Orville piloted. The right propeller broke which eventually caused the plane to nose-dive, even though Orville had glided the plane for about 70 feet (21 meters).
Because of greatly improved methods of utilizing, flying, and running airplanes, the odds of one dying is not very high. For instance, when flying on a single airline flight, your chances of dying are 1 in 10.87 million. However, the odds of surviving a plane crash are even lower.
While some may consider it to be a miracle to survive such a crash, there are people who have been the only survivor of a fatal crash. Studies have shown that those who sit more towards the tail-end of the plane are more likely to survive a crash, but of course that depends on the cause of the crash.
Below are five people who somehow survived a plane that was downed either due to pilot failure or some other problem. While ten may seem like a small number, since 1970, there have only been 12 lone survivors of a plane crash.
1 Cecelia Cichan - 156 Fatalities
On August 16, 1987, a flight leaving
Carrying 149 passengers and 6 crew members, the plane was able to make its way down the runway, but trouble arose when it was time for liftoff. As the plane was attempting to make its way off the ground, it rolled 40 degrees to left, causing the left wing to hit a light-pole located at the end of the runway. The plane struck the roof of a rental car and finally crashed on the I-94 express way.
Everyone on the plane died with the exception of Cecelia Cichan, who was 4 years old at the time, and her survival is seen as a true miracle.
Two motorists on I-94 were also killed, bringing the death toll to 156. After the crash, investigations ensued, and the National Transportation Safety Board determined that the crash was caused by pilot error, as those in the cockpit failed to make sure that the plane's slats and flaps were extended for proper takeoff.
There was also an absence of full electrical power, which caused a failure in the system to warn the crew that the plane was not ready for takeoff.
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