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Wreckage of an intentional crash in the Mexican desert to test flight safety, 2012 (photo: Discovery Channel)

How to survive a plane crash

The risk of losing your life on a flight is miniscule, but a Nordic aviation expert says there are things you can do to cut the risk even further.

Statistically, if you fly from Oslo to Trondheim, with any airline, on any day, the risk of a crash is one in 2,675,590 – which means you’d have to fly the same route every day for 7330 years until there’s a real risk of the plane you’re in coming down, Norway Today reports.

But there are still precautions you can take to survive a serious accident, aviation expert Per Julius Helweg, tells the newspaper VG.

The safest place to sit is behind the wings. The magazine Popular Mechanics researched 20 air accidents from 1971 to 2007 that had both fatalities and survivors and found that those seated at the rear of the cabin had 69% chance of survival, while those at the front had a 49% chance.

“Most accidents occur during landing or departure, when the tail section and the middle section can withstand greater shock, Helweg explains, pinpointing the safest point in the aisle from the centre of the plane backwards.

In the event of an evacuation, leave all hand baggage behind, no matter what it contains, Helweg adds. The time you spend bothering about luggage can mean the difference between life and death.

Landing position
The safest way to sit during a crash landing is the emergency position pictured on the safety card in front of the seat – feet on the floor, head bent to the knees or behind the seat in front.

Studies have shown that a number of passengers have survived crashes just because they were sitting in this way, the Telegraph newspaper writes.

Wearing a seatbelt is vital, of course, and so is keeping it fastened during the flight due to the possibility of turbulence.

“Always keep it on anyway” Helweg advises. “Even during parking, people are seriously injured if they open the belt and get up.”

The moment the oxygen mask falls, put it on, he adds, as lack of oxygen can leave you unconscious within 20 seconds. Put yours on before helping others.

Wearing flame resistant clothing can also help, as 68% of all deaths during plane crashes are due to fire after the aircraft has hit the ground, according to the journal Scientific American.

This means not wearing synthetic fabrics like polyester or nylon, instead going for natural materials like wool and cotton.

As for shoes, comfortable running shoes are much better for speedy mobility than flip flops or high heels.

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