As Indian government and the Indian Air Force grapple with the missing IAF plane, Emirates airlines have pulled off a near to impossible feat. A plane crash lands after suffering an engine explosion and loses almost its entire top section to fire. Carrying 286 people on-board it comes to rest engulfed in fire and all the passengers survive! Sounds like a Rajnikant movie right? But no, this real life incident happened on Wednesday with Ek521 which crash landed in Dubai.
This is not just one isolated incident as earlier too in July 2013 an Asiana Boeing 777-200 in San Francisco too suffered such an accident where only 3 of the 291 passengers died, a 99% survival rate. Emirates airlines is the largest operator of the Boeing 777, which is the most used plane for long-haul flights around the world and a model flown by the airline since 1996. The crash on Wednesday was the carrier’s worst accident in its 31-year history. Apart from engineering of the craft, the planning and training given to the crew was the main reason why such an accident didn’t result in death on a mass scale.
The company said in a statement that crash may have been caused in part by a wind shear. Travelling from Trivandrum International Airport in Thiruvananthapuram, India this plane was delivered to Emirates in 2003, it was piloted by a captain and first officer with “7,000 hours of flying experience each,” the carrier said. Here are some facts about the craft and the crew of EK521.
- The aircraft is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 800 engines and the apart from being fire resistant, the plastics and fabrics in the aircraft don’t produce toxic fumes when they do burn. Apart from this, planes built after 1996 also have standards on how much heat is released from materials in a fire and the density of smoke the fire produces.
- The crew is trained to carry out evacuation within 90 seconds and this means that passengers have a chance to evacuate before the fire and smoke can engulf the entire plane. Federal Aviation Administration has invested enormous resources into studying emergency airplane “egress,” including an Oklahoma City laboratory specializing in such flight-safety issues.
- All seats on Boeing 777 are designed to withstand extreme forces up to 16 times the force of Earth’s gravity. The connections between the floor and seats are strengthened so that seats do not break loose in a crash and cause injury.
Kudos to Emirates on achieving such a feat and even though the Emirates, Boeing Co., and aviation safety regulators are investigating the cause of the accident, a process that will take time we can be sure that: Aviation will incorporate the lessons that are learned and strive to make flying even safer than it already is.