Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Any Landing You Can Walk Away From

People running around claiming it's a "miracle" that all 309 people aboard Air France Flight 358 survived are overreacting. The airplane, on its second landing attempt in very bad weather, went off the end of the runway at a fairly low speed and ran down into a gully; the important thing is that it didn't hit anything solid enough to cause mass casualties or so much damage that fires were immediate and extensive. Although the Airbus A340 burned out after the accident, becoming the first hull loss for the type (Update: I've read elsewhere that this is the third hull loss for the A340, but the first in passenger service), there was sufficient time for everyone onboard to make a reasonably orderly evacuation. It's a testament not to a "miracle," but to the fact that modern airliners are well built and their crews trained for emergencies.

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