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July 10, 2013 at 6:08 AM
Asiana crash: Boeing 777 builders, engineers deserve credit
As horrifying as the Asiana plane crash was to watch, the most amazing outcome was the small loss of life. As I watched, and rewatched, the video of the crash and saw the violence of the impact and the smoke on Saturday, massive loss of life seemed certain.
Instead, almost everyone escaped. Two people died out of the 307 passengers and crew. Some remain critically injured. Much of this was due to the heroism of the crew, as detailed in many news reports, the rescuers on the ground, the plane’s slow speed upon impact and the fact that the fuel tanks were nearly empty.
Boeing also deserves credit. The 777 is one of the most modern planes in Boeing’s fleet. Outside aviation experts in this AP report talked about improved safety features, particularly seats that can withstand 16 times the force of gravity, as well as interior seats and insulation designed to burn slowly, giving passengers time to evacuate.
Check out this picture of the seats after the crash from the National Transportation Safety Board’s Twitter feed. They stayed remarkably intact. (Hat tip to this thread on the crash at FlyerTalk.com for the alert about the tweet.
I mourn the deaths of two Chinese girls and am troubled by severe injuries suffered by passengers, who no doubt face a long recovery. The NTSB is continuing to investigate. But the Boeing workers who designed and built this 777 in Everett in 2005 deserve a hug and a fruit basket.