How Does One Boy Survive a Plane Crash?

The circumstances of plane crashes are so unique, he said, with so many factors from plane size to type of landing or country of origin, that looking just at these anomalies won't add anything.

Plane Crash in Tripoli Kills All But One Passenger

There were 103 deaths in the Libyan crash.

"Way more than that will die of all sorts of things today," Ropeik said. "Heart disease will kill 1,000 Americans today, but not all in one place at one time."

In fact, the chance of dying in a plane crash is 1 in 2 million, compared to 1 in 7,700 for motor vehicles.

"Singular big bad events scare us more than greater risks which are spread out in location and time," Ropeik said. "There's something about the nature of a risk that expresses itself in a catastrophic event that particularly grabs innate human fears."

Then the media just amplifies that fear, said Ropeik, who is a former reporter.

That creates an "extraordinarily disproportionate public fear of events like this, compared with chronic risks that are much bigger."

Still, there are some things that can be learned from crashes.

A few years ago, Popular Mechanics took a look at the safest place to sit on a plane.

Their findings: passengers near the tail of a plane are about 40 percent more likely to survive a crash than those up in first class.

"You're odds are marginally better in the back," Popular Mechanics associate editor Joe Pappalardo told ABC News. "You have to wait later to get on and off but it's better than not getting off the plane at all."

The magazine reviewed data for every commercial jet crash in the United States since 1971 and found that 49 percent of the passengers seated in the first or business class seats survived a crash. Compare that to 56 percent for the middle, or over the wing, and 69 percent for those behind the wing.

Still, that doesn't mean that sitting in the back will ensure safety.

"It's really just a function of luck," Pappalardo said. "There's not much more than you can do that buckle up and hope that you have a decent pilot."

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