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What’s the Chance of Surviving a Plane Crash?

The wing of a plane flying above icy mountains

Many people have a fear of flying, but it is actually safer to get on an aeroplane than it is to get into a car. If your brain automatically goes to the worst places or you are just genuinely curious, then you might be wondering what your chances of survival are if your plane does crash. We are going to answer all of your questions about plane crashes in this article, so you can put your mind to rest.

Flying in a plane is much safer than people might think, and with modern technology, plane crashes are more unlikely than they have ever been before. However, accidents can still happen and in the event that your plane does go down, there are even lower numbers of fatal accidents. Some plane crashes will end in a safe crash landing, but others might not be so fortunate. For those very few incidents, there are things that can increase and decrease your chances of survival, and we will also explain these in this article.

What Are the Chances of Surviving a Plane Crash?

It is difficult to say what your exact chances of surviving a plane crash are, as it will depend entirely on each individual situation. However, more than 95% of aircraft occupants have been known to survive accidents, including 55% of these being serious incidents. The European Transport Safety Council has estimated that around 90% of aircraft accidents were technically survivable.

What Will Influence Your Chances of Survival in a Plane Crash?

Some things that might influence your chances of survival in a plane crash are the presence of a fire, the altitude that the accident takes place at, and what has gone wrong. Some other things that could influence your chances of survival in a plane crash are:

  • Whether or not passengers are able to withstand the conditions that are present
  • The structure of the plane and if it is able to remain intact
  • The environment that you are crashing into and whether it poses risks or threats to passengers and even rescuers
  • How bad the impact was in terms of the damage that it could do to the passengers on board and the aircraft itself

What Kills You During a Plane Crash?

Some of the things that can kill you during a plane crash are the passengers on board, not listening to the safety instructions, panic, fires, and general environmental factors. In any plane crash, there are a variety of things that could be your cause of death, and it can increase your chances of survival to be aware of them.

One of the biggest issues when it comes to plane crashes are the passengers on board. There are always going to be those people that can’t bear to part with their luggage, even when the plane is going down. Don’t be one of those people. This is only going to put you and everyone else around you at risk. Luggage can often be replaced, depending on what you are travelling with, but your life cannot. If people are blocking the aisles trying to get their luggage, then they are also blocking the path to safety for other people.

There have been numerous plane crashes where evacuation has been delayed due to passengers making a dash for their luggage, and there could have been deaths prevented if people didn’t do this. So, if you are in a plane crash, forget about your luggage, and worry more about yourself. Every second counts in an evacuation and you don’t want to be the person responsible for lives lost. 

In almost every crash that occurs, there are people that survive the initial crash. Interestingly, the majority of deaths will actually occur after the crash due to things like smoke inhalation and fires. The rest of the deaths are often due to different environmental factors like exposure and drowning. These factors will depend on the location of the crash and what the conditions are like. 

One of the biggest killers in plane crashes is a lack of proper evacuation. Though all accidents are different, many deaths occur in these accidents due to a lack of safety knowledge. This is why it is so important to listen to the safety briefing at the start of every flight and make sure that you pay attention to the information that you are being given. Always make a mental note of your closest emergency exit point so you know where to go in the event of an evacuation, and ensure that you follow all of the crew’s instructions.

How to Increase Your Chances of Survival in a Plane Crash?

There are a few things that you can do to increase your chances of survival in a plane crash like remaining calm, wearing your seatbelt, following safety procedures, choosing the right clothing, and taking other extra steps to ensure your safety.

Stay Calm

One of the most important things to do during a crash is to try and remain calm. This is easier said than done, but panicking will only make things worse. It can inhibit your ability to make wise decisions, and even lead you to do things that put yourself and others at risk. Try to stay as calm as you possibly can in such a terrifying situation, and encourage others around you to do the same. 

Never try to get your luggage. 

The aisles are going to need to be clear for evacuation purposes, and you standing there trying to get your luggage is going to delay this process. Your luggage is not as important as your life.

Dress for the Occasion

Another thing that you can do to increase your chances of survival is to wear appropriate clothing on an aeroplane. Avoid wearing super high heels or flip flops and instead opt for a pair of secure shoes that would aid you well in a survival situation. 

You can also wear clothing that is not flammable, as this will benefit you in the event of a fire. Layers are another great idea so that you are prepared for whatever situation that you might find yourself in. If you survive the crash, you could be faced with all sorts of environments outside, depending on the crash location.

Follow Instructions from the Cabin Crew

If you are told to put your seatbelt on, then do it. If you are told to brace for impact, do it. Whatever the crew tells you to do in regards to your safety is what you should be doing. They are trained to handle such situations and they know what they are talking about. This also includes listening to the safety instructions at the start of your flight, as this is the essential information that you will need if the plane does crash. 

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

You should know exactly where the closest emergency exit is to you, as this will be your evacuation point if needed. Knowing where to go will save you time in the evacuation and this is really important as every second counts. 

Another thing that you can do is count the number of rows of seats between you and the exits so you would be able to find it if the lights fail or you find yourself in a low light situation.

Where is the Best Place to Sit on an Airplane if it Crashes?

There is some research that suggests that the back of the plane is the safest place to sit on an aeroplane if it crashes. Another thing to consider when choosing your seat is how close it is to the emergency exit as the closer it is, the better.

Is Dying in a Plane Crash Painful?

Dying in a plane crash can be either painful or painless, depending on the type of crash that occurs. If you are killed in an explosion mid-crashing, then you are likely to feel nothing at all as your death would be instantaneous. Another thing that often occurs in a plane crash is a loss of consciousness, so you might not be conscious at the time of your death, which would mean that you feel no pain at all. 

Unfortunately, there will be other times that dying in a plane crash will be painful. If you survive the initial impact and become consumed by fire, then unfortunately this will be painful. Alternatively, luggage could come loose and fly around the cabin during a crash, or you could be projected from your seat and be thrown around. There are lots of things that could happen in a plane crash, and it is impossible to predict whether or not you would feel pain in your death without knowing the exact circumstances.


Though the chances of being in a plane crash are very slim, it is still possible, but thankfully, there are lots of things that you can do to increase your chances of survival in such a situation. Always be prepared, stay calm, and follow the