Surviving a Plane Crash: 20 Tips From 20/20


10. Actually pay attention to the flight attendant's safety briefings. Most people ignore the standard safety explanation at the beginning of a flight and continue reading their book or talking to their neighbor. The information being provided is important and could help save your life.

11. Internalize the most important points in the safety briefing. Even more important than just listening to the flight attendant's presentation is remembering the most vital instructions. For instance if a plane decompresses at high altitude you only have a few seconds to get your oxygen mask on - so make sure you understand how to do it correctly.

12. Even if you're a frequent flier it's important to listen to the safety briefing and have an action plan. Often people who travel a lot think they already know everything they should about flight safety, but that can hurt your chances of survival in an emergency.

13. Always wear comfortable shoes when flying. Women should leave their heels at home. Stephanie Neilson, for example, wore suede moccasins that protected her feet -- one of the few areas of her body that was not burned.

14. Don't drink alcohol on a plane. As tempting as it can be to kick back with an in-flight cocktail while flying, try not to. You want to be as alert as possible in the case of an emergency and alcohol will impair your most important abilities.

15. Face it, in a plane crash you are going to hit something, so be as prepared as you can for that impact. Have your seat belt fastened firmly across your waist. It's a good idea to avoid bulkhead seats because those walls don't have the give that another seat in front of you does. And know how to get into the brace position. It is designed to minimize the force of impact on your body and head. During her crash, Stephanie Nielson got herself into the brace position before her plane hit the ground possibly preventing her from breaking any bones.

16. Forget about your carry-on luggage. Investigators say that, while fleeing a plane, passengers frequently try to bring their bags with them. If you are involved in a plane crash the only thing you should be thinking about is how to get off that plane. Just remember anything in your bags can ultimately be replaced.

17. Try to sit within five rows of an exit. There is no conclusive evidence that any one area of a plane is the safest place to sit. Each crash is different and in many cases survivors and victims are found right next to each other in the same section. What can make a difference is how close you are to an exit.

18. If you're traveling with family or children discuss what each person's role will be in your action plan and make sure everyone understands what he or she will do in case of an emergency.

19. Remind yourself at take-off and landing who matters to you most. Investigators say that in emergencies people can forget the most basic things -- husbands flee without wives, parents without children. If you are in an emergency consider even reciting a mantra to yourself like, "I've got kids, I've got kids."

20. Ask yourself, "How committed am I?" Remember that survival is not just about physical fitness but mental fitness as well. In a crash you cannot have even a moment's hesitation. Be prepared to climb over seats, crawl on the floor, to do whatever is necessary to reach the exit.

Stephanie and Christian Nielson both thought of their children.

"This feeling in my heart told me...think of your children, they need you to be well," Christian Nielson said.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...